News: Amid rising fears of Federal, Tigray forces renewed military offensives, rights body calls for calm, peaceful solutions

PM Abiy Ahmed seen holding hands with Tigray state President Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), then vice President, in Axum city in 10 June 2019. Picture: PMO/Archive

Addis Abeba – The state sanctioned Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it was “concerned about rising tensions and reported sporadic fighting between forces of the Tigray Region and the Federal Government,” and called on “all parties to the conflict,” to show restraint and work “towards mutual understanding, tolerance, and peace.”

In a statement released Sunday 15 May, EHRC said “the cost of further conflict and war in any part of the country will be incalculable.”

The statement after reports last week attributed to Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael said that Tigray state was in the “final phase of the struggle” and that efforts to resolve the 18 months civil was between Tigrayan forces and the federal government through diplomacy have failed.

Subsequently, Amhara State Peace and Security Council said on Friday 13 May that it has “reviewed the peace and security situation in the region” and asserted “the TPLF declared war on the Amhara region.”

Similarly, Colonel Demeke Zewdu, leader of the Welkait Identity Committee and who is currently in charge of Western Tigray after Amhara forces controlled the area in November 2020, called on all people in the region as well as the federal and regional governments to defend the area “against attacks” by Tigrayan forces whom he said were ready to launch military offensive on “Wolkait, Tegede”, a reference to Western Tigray. “There should be proportional readiness; the enemy has finalized its preparations and is on stand by, beating the war drum…that is what necessitated the Welkait Identity Committee to make this call,” Colonel Demeke said, adding “the issue should be given proper attention both by federal and regional governments, most importantly the people who should stand by the government.”

But Getachew Reda, Advisor to the President of Tigray and TPLF Executive Committee member, denied these reports but said that “there have been several instances of indiscriminate shelling on civilians in parts of Tigray by Eritreans, of course.”

renewed military offensives “will devastate civilian populations and would result in further gross human rights and humanitarian law violations.”


The EHRC cautioned that the prospected of renewed military offensives “will devastate civilian populations and would result in further gross human rights and humanitarian law violations.” It will also further compound the current rising inflation, shortages of basic supplies and suspension of productive activities from large parts of Northern Ethiopia, as well as humanitarian needs in other parts of the country have also significantly affected socio-economic rights.”

The rights commission also called on all “national actors, civil society organizations, the media, religious leaders, and other actors, to renew efforts for a peaceful resolution to the conflict including by contributing to constructive discussions and dialogue, by refraining from engaging in any act of incitement or hate speech, and instead contributing towards mutual understanding, tolerance, and peace.” AS

EHRC Full Statement

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