TPLF’s Violations, Abuses in S. Gondar, N. Wollo May Amount to War Crimes: Report

ADDIS ABABA – Violations, abuses caused by TPLF forces in South Gondar and North Wollo Zones of Amhara region may amount to war crimes, said the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The commission has today released an investigation report into human rights and international humanitarian law violations committed in areas of two Zones. The report covers the period between July and August 28, 2021.

Conducted until September 5, 2021, the investigation mission held 128 interviews and 21 focus group discussions (FGDs) with survivors, victims, local civil administration and security officials, CSOs and humanitarian organizations.

The Commission found that at least 184 civilians had been killed and many suffered physical and psychological injuries as a result of the war.

“TPLF fighters willfully killed scores of civilians in towns and rural areas they captured; systematically committed large scale looting and destruction of public and private properties,” it says.

The report also claims that the TPLF fighters fired artillery into urban areas and dug trenches in and fired heavy weapons from civilian homes and premises “thereby exposing civilians to death, injury and destruction of property from counter attacks by government forces”.

According to the Commission, Defensive and counter-attack measures taken by the ENDF against attacks launched from residential areas also resulted in civilian loss of lives, injuries and destruction of property.

EHRC Chief commissioner Daniel Bekele said the findings of the investigation “underscores the need to put an urgent stop to the continued suffering caused to civilians”.

Daniel has on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations to ensure that civilians and civilian objects do not become targets and to ensure that perpetrators of these violations are held accountable.

The Commission also said it is undertaking investigation in more conflict affected areas of Amhara and Afar regions as well as underscoring the need for a separate investigation into numerous reports of sexual and gender-based violations committed by parties to the conflict in Amhara and Afar regions including survivors’ access to psychosocial and other humanitarian assistance.