ADDIS ABABA – Ministry of Foreign Affairs has slammed Amnesty International over its “flawed” report that alleged human rights abuses in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray.
Amnesty released its report on the alleged rape and other sexual violence in Tigray regional state on Wednesday.
In a statement, Ministry of Foreign affairs said the government of Ethiopia condemns sexual violence in all circumstances and including in situations of conflict.
The statement recalled that the government has previously issued statements acknowledging that there have been some instances during the course of the conflict in Tigray.
Some members of the armed forces have engaged in conduct that is contrary to the clear rules of engagement and direction they have been given, said the ministry, adding the country had taken steps to ensure accountability.
Ethiopian foreign Ministry also said it has noted Amnesty International’s latest report that concludes “…overwhelming evidence it has collected showing that Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers and members of allied militia are responsible for a pattern of rape and other forms of sexual violence”.
The report refers to ‘…1,288 cases of sexual violence from February to April 2021…’ and ‘…376 cases of rape committed from the beginning of the conflict to 9 June”.
“This is primarily based on information that is said to be gathered between March and June 2021 by interviewing 63 women and girl survivors and from information said to be gathered from health facilities which are also alleged to be destroyed in the ‘report’,” the Ministry noted.
The report, the Ministry says, was carried out “based on a flawed methodology and relies heavily on interviews conducted in refugee camps in the Sudan and remote interviews facilitated by ‘community workers’”.
“For everyone familiar with the modus operandi of the terrorist TPLF, the identity of these ‘community workers’ is no great mystery”, the statement says.
It also says, after interviewing 63 individuals, Amnesty “reaches sweeping and far-reaching conclusions that could hardly be supported by the limited and remote ‘investigation’ it claims to have conducted”.
Considering the seriousness of the conclusions, it says Amnesty’s report “seems scanty and decidedly lacking in rigor”.
The Ministry also said says “as has been the case, in some of its previous reports, Amnesty International seems bent on engaging in sensationalized attacks and smear campaigns against the Government of Ethiopia”.
“The Government of Ethiopia had already expressed its concerns about the impartiality and professionalism of some of the personnel within the Amnesty East African Office,” the ministry stated, adding that “the current report reinforces those apprehensions”.