ADDIS ABEBA – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has urged authorities to speed up their effort to fully resume social and administrative services in Tigray.
The slow progress in restoring the infrastructure and resume social and administrative services “is exposing residents and internally displaced persons to further human rights violations”, said the commission.
The Commission said this after concluding its latest monitoring and investigation mission in the region, which took place from January 10 to January 23, 2021.
The mission, EHRC says, talked to military and civilian leadership, as well as residents, health sector workers, affected persons and internally displaced persons in various temporary shelters in Mekelle city.
The Commission said it has received reports of loss of lives, bodily and mental injury, instances of gender-based violence, looting and other human rights violations.
In the past two months alone, the Commission said 108 cases of rape have been reported in Mekelle, Ayder, Adigrat and Wukro hospitals.
“While the Commission has noted some improvements in terms of provision of humanitarian assistance in Mekelle and other areas that it has visited, significantly more effort is still required to meet the extent of humanitarian need on time,” the Commission said.
It said people displaced to Mekelle from other parts of the region still face a shortage of food, clean water and insufficient provision of health services.
The ongoing security situation in some parts of Tigray and ongoing disruption to health services has forced injured persons and families of injured persons to walk long distances to get medical help, the commission said.
The team also visited Ayder Hospital’s in-patient wing for children and found 16 of the 20 children being treated for trauma had sustained injuries as a result of the war.
“Some of the hospitalized children have lost at least a body part or suffered another form of bodily injury,” the Commission reported.
Doctors confirm “land mines and hand grenades left lying on the ground” as main reason for injuries to the children, according to the rights agency.
EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele has said that there are many indications and reports of the scale of human rights violations occurring in Tigray Region.
“The comprehensive overview of the full extent of its impact on civilians is still hindered by the security situation,” he said, adding that EHRC “will continue its monitoring work and carry out investigations.”
The Commissioner urged for “a more focused and immediate action to put a stop to the alarming and deplorable human right violations caused by gender-based violence and injuries to children.”