News: Amhara State rejects rights groups report detailing crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing in Western Tigray

Amhara security forces rounded up Tigrayans in Western Tigray and forcibly transferred them east, towards Northwestern Tigray. © 2022 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

Addis Abeba – The Amhara regional government issued a statement regarding the recent joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which documented war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Western Tigray zone. The statesmen from the regional state government region released on Sunday 10 April stated that the report was biased and lacks credibility and accused the two humna rights organizations of publishing “false accusations that don’t play a positive role in preventing violations of human rights.” 

“For independent bodies who know the facts on the ground, to the people of our region, and the wider Ethiopian public, the report has three goals,” the statement said.

First, “the report is aimed at breaking the alliance between government officials, members of the security forces, and genuine Fano, who have fulfilled their national duty to ensure their country’s sovereignty,” the statement read, adding, “this is done to create a weakened union if our sovereignty is threatened.” 

Second, the report was aimed at denying justice to the people of Amhara who have suffered “human rights violations, genocide, and war crimes” the statement said, and added that the report was aimed at “diminishing the commitment of Amhara people in protecting the nation’s sovereignty, maintaining the nation’s territorial integrity by making it lose hope in international institutions of justice, human rights, and democracy-building stakeholders.” 

“Our regional government doubts the credibility and impartiality of the two rights groups because the report indicates efforts to entice civil war by presenting opinions that are skewed in favor of one group”

Amhara State Governemnt

Stating the third point as to why the regional government rejects the report it said that it devalues the investigation by the African Union Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as well as the joint report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. “The fact that this report came out at a time when both the regional and Federal governments are working hard to end the conflict and ensure humanitarian access is an open immoral attack on humanity,” the statement read. 

The statement also accused the report of meddling in Ethiopia’s internal regional boundary issues as well as attempting to inhibit ‘internal political changes’. “Our regional government doubts the credibility and impartiality of the two rights groups because the report indicates efforts to entice civil war by presenting opinions that are skewed in favor of one group,” the statement said.  

“The fact that the 427 witnesses interviewed by the rights groups, who are allegedly victims of ethnic cleansing were available for phone calls in the Amhara region is self-contradictory,” it said and added that the regional government beliefs that the interviewees from refuge camps are “in fact members of the informal paramilitary group accused by the government of committing a massacre in Mai Kadra” in November 2020. “Ethnic Tigrayans who believe in the lasting brotherhood of people despite regime changes still live in the Amhara region which is under the rule of the Amhara regional state that is accused of displacing them,” the statement added. 

The Amhara regional government urged the international community to rethink how they see the state of these areas ‘pre and post liberation’ and to reconsider their sources. “Amnesty and HRW showed political affiliation which indicates hijacking human rights. They have betrayed the cause they stand for by sharing the political stand of a designated terrorist group,” the statement read, adding, “It is even sadder that the report was shared on the official page of the American embassy in Ethiopia who pointed fingers at the victim that is the Amhara regional government.” AS

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