By: Ermias Mulugeta
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia Today) October 30,2023:- The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has released a concerning report detailing the ongoing human rights abuses in the Amhara Region amid escalating conflict between government forces and militant groups. According to the Commission, 200 cases of rape have been officially registered since last August. Disturbingly, the survivors include internally displaced women and healthcare professionals. The Commission emphasized that these figures only represent cases where survivors were able to seek medical attention, suggesting the actual number could be higher.
Beyond sexual violence, the report outlines multiple types of human rights violations taking place in the region. These include drone strikes, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial killings. The civilian population has been severely affected; there are instances of government forces conducting door-to-door extrajudicial killings. Such dire conditions have forced residents to flee their homes for safer areas. Specifically, 3,000 households in the Amora Bet locality in the Minjar area of the North Shewa Zone have been displaced. In a further violation, houses in Amora Bet, also known as Awura Godana, have been bulldozed by forces from neighboring regions.
The situation in the region remains fluid, with control of different zones alternating between government and militant forces. Adding to the complexity, there has been a widespread internet and telecommunications blackout in areas where active fighting is ongoing. Except for a few authorized organizations, internet communication in the region has been disconnected for several months. In a concerning development, medical services have been severely disrupted in the Amhara Region due to ongoing conflict. Adet and Finote Selam Hospitals, as well as the region’s largest medical facility, Tibebe Ghion Hospital, have ceased operations. The suspensions are attributed to shelling, looting, and incidents where hospital staff have been assaulted by security forces. This adds another layer of crisis to an already dire human rights and healthcare situation in the region.
In a previous report, the Commission expressed concern over human rights abuses in the region. Their latest release affirms that these violations have continued unabated. In addition, severe drought is also palpable in the North Gondar zone and Waghimra areas, and several people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
The Commission’s findings underscore the urgent need for intervention and resolution to put an end to the cycle of violence and abuse.