Just In: US ‘deeply troubled’ by rights groups report on acts amounting to ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Western Tigray

Jamila, a 27-year-old in Dansha town, described how in early November 2020, half a dozen Fano militiamen who were carrying out out neighborhood searches targeting Tigrayans, entered her shop while she was working, and raped her in front of her children.  © 2022 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

Addis Abeba – The U.S. State Department issued a statement reiterating US government’s “grave concern over continuing reports of ethnically-motivated atrocities committed by Amhara authorities in western Tigray.”

The statement is issued this evening in response to newly released joint report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) that “Amhara regional security forces and civilian authorities in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone have committed widespread abuses against Tigrayans since November 2020 that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a new report released on 6 April.

Full Statement

The United States reiterates its grave concern over continuing reports of ethnically-motivated atrocities committed by Amhara authorities in western Tigray, Ethiopia, including those described in the recent joint report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.  In particular, we are deeply troubled by the report’s finding that these acts amount to ethnic cleansing.

We note with the utmost alarm that thousands of Ethiopians of Tigrayan ethnicity reportedly continue to be detained arbitrarily in life-threatening conditions in western Tigray.  We urge the immediate release of any such remaining detainees and call on relevant authorities to grant international monitors access to all detention facilities. It remains our firm position that there must be credible investigations into and accountability for atrocities committed by any party to the conflict as part of any lasting solution to the crisis.  We urge the Government of Ethiopia to cooperate with the UN Commission of Experts on Human Rights in Ethiopia.

Continued reports of atrocities underscore the urgency of ending the military conflict.  We strongly support the declarations of a cessation of hostilities by the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray regional authority and welcome the news that they have been followed by initial convoys of life-saving assistance.  In keeping with these declarations, we renew our call on all armed actors to renounce and end human rights abuses and violence against civilians.  The United States reiterates its call for all foreign forces to withdraw from Ethiopia as well as for the regional state authorities to remove their security forces from neighboring regions.

We continue to urge all parties to take necessary steps to ensure the cessation of hostilities, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access, transparent investigations into human rights abuses and violations by all actors, and a negotiated resolution to the conflict in Ethiopia.

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