Taskforce Formed to Oversee Govt’s Response to Rights Violations in N. Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – An Inter-Ministerial taskforce has been established to oversee redress and accountability measures in response to human rights violations committed in the context of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

The taskforce started its work today, November 29, by adopting a comprehensive strategy and action plan.

In a statement issued today, the taskforce said the two documents will enable the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Joint Report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“The strategy and action plan cover all serious violations that have been committed in the context of the conflict, including those that have occurred in Afar and Amhara regional states after the unilateral ceasefire declared by the FDRE Government in June 2021,” said the statement.

To carry out its work, the Taskforce has established four committees that focus on Investigation and Prosecution, Refugees and IDP Affairs, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and Resource Mobilization.

The Committees will be chaired, respectively, by the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Finance.

The Taskforce has also decided to establish a secretariat that will facilitate, monitor and coordinate its day-to-day function and its committees.

It has also directed the Committee on Investigations and Prosecutions to operationalize a specialized joint civil-military investigative and prosecutorial unit with the requisite operational autonomy to ensure accountability through a transparent and robust legal process.

The committees are now tasked to adopt a victim-centered approach, focusing on the rights of victims to know the truth, to seek and secure redress, and the need to implement programs of rehabilitation, restitution, and compensation to the extent resources permit.

It has also instructed the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to engage with relevant national and international human rights organizations to seek technical assistance and support in the form of capacity building to help it discharge its mandate effectively.

The Taskforce said it will regularly provide updates to the public concerning progress in the discharge of its responsibilities.

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