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The UN office is urging for a focus on victims in Ethiopia, considering the history of human rights violations.
Africa World News

The UN office is urging for a focus on victims in Ethiopia, considering the history of human rights violations.

A recent report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission highlighted the importance of implementing all aspects of transitional justice with equal emphasis. These include holding individuals accountable for crimes, seeking the truth, providing reparations, and ensuring non-repetition through effective remedies for victims, legal changes, and reconciliation efforts.

As a result of the November 2022 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, which was signed by the Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, one of the suggested actions is the implementation of transitional justice measures. This agreement brought an end to the violent conflict in the regions of Tigray, Amhara, and Afar.

In 2018, there was a significant increase in human rights abuses in Ethiopia, including instances of murder, physical abuse, and violence based on ethnicity and religion. The situation worsened when an armed conflict broke out in the Tigray area in November 2020, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of millions of people.

Ongoing violence based on ethnicity in different areas has worsened the crisis, leading to a state of emergency being declared across the country in August 2023 due to increasing tensions in the Amhara region.

Victim-centred approach critical

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, expressed approval for Ethiopia’s efforts to create a transitional justice policy in line with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.

He emphasized the importance of comprehensive and in line with global human rights principles, prioritizing victims and impacted communities, particularly females.

Key recommendations

The report presents the results of 15 community meetings that took place from July 2022 to March 2023. These meetings involved hundreds of individuals, including victims and their families, from the regions of Afar, Amhara, Harari, Oromia, Somali, and Tigray, as well as from the city administration of Dire Dawa.

It sets out 31 recommendations, including on the design and implementation of the transitional justice process, justice and accountability, truth seeking and recommendations, and guarantees of non-repetition.

Mr. Türk emphasized the significance of properly informing ongoing discussions on the development of a legitimate, holistic, genuine, and inclusive transitional justice policy by amplifying the experiences and voices of directly affected populations in Ethiopia.

States’ obligations

The United Nations’ human rights leader emphasized that it is the responsibility of countries to conduct thorough investigations and bring to justice any severe violations of human rights or international humanitarian law, including acts that are considered crimes under international law.

“He stated that individuals who have experienced violations or mistreatment have the right to seek justice, which includes appropriate, thorough, timely, and efficient reparations.”