Three Tigray Opposition Parties Call for Extension of ICHREE’s Mandate

Press release from three political parties of Tigray regarding ICHREE (full text-presser)

We, the undersigned political parties, are issuing this press release to urge the extension of the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) for an additional term of one year.

We have virtually attended and carefully reviewed the ICHREE’s report on the Human rights situation in Ethiopia during the UN Human Rights Counsil’s 54th session.

The commission’s report has identified grave and systematic violations of international law and crimes committed in Tigray. It has highlighted atrocities such as mass killing of civilians, systemic rape and other forms of sexual violence, complete blockage of essential services and humanitarian aid, Incitement to discrimination and hostility, forced displacement and arbitrary detention of civilians. These heinous acts have been perpetrated by the Ethiopian forces, their internal allies, and the Eritrean forces.

Furthermore, the commission has expressed ongoing violations and concerns, including the continued presence of the Eritrean forces in Tigray, starvation and food insecurity, sexual and gender-based violations, incitement to discrimination and hostility and the securitization of the state.

The findings of the Commission clearly indicate that there are reasonable grounds to believe serious violations of International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and International criminal laws have been committed.

Moreover, the commission has highlighted that the government of Ethiopia has failed to effectively investigate these violations and has initiated a flawed transitional justice process. Ethiopia is attempting to evade international justice through the establishment of domestic mechanisms as camouflage to fight impunity.

The commission was denied access to enter Tigray and conduct a physical investigation at the crime scene. It explicitly mentioned that credible information indicates numerous other incidents of mass killings, which require further inquiry. Furthermore, additional investigation is necessary to determine the chain of command responsible for issuing orders for these violations.

As political parties operating on the ground, we are acutely aware of the grave offenses committed but not mentioned in the Commission’s report, such examples are ethnic cleansening in western Tigray, mass killings in DebreAbay (february 2021, Ethiopian forces), Kelakl Beles (January 2021, Eritrean forces), Hintsats mass killing (November 2020, Eritrean forces), Wishte Gulti mass killing ( November 2020), Zana massacre (March, 2021, Eritrean forces), Mahbere-dego (January 2021, Ethiopian forces), Axum massacre (November 2020, Eritrean forces) , Tekeze bridge massacre ( Amhara regional forces), Kunama Shembelina massacre by machetes (October 2022, Eritrean forces), Egela mass killing (October 2022, Eritrean forces), Sheket massacre (December 2021, Afar forces), Dedebit IDP Drone strike, Adi-Daero Drone attack (September 2022), Togoga bombardment, Korem bombardment, Mekelle kindergarten bombing and other similar crimes. Unfortunately, these crimes, including the ones mentioned in the report, haven’t undergone a thorough investigation.Moreover, the full extent of the consequences resulting from total siege on Tigray has not also been adequately examined. Overall, we believe more than 80% of these crimes haven’t been investigated.

We, as the three political parties of Tigray, express our profound concern regarding the premature termination of the commission’s mandate. We believe ending the mandate prematurely would set negative precedent to international human rights protection efforts. Extending the commission’s mandate is crucial in revealing the true nature of the crimes committed, thereby achieving the reliable justice that can contribute to sustainable peace and comprehensive stability in the east Africa as a whole. Therefore, we strongly urge the extension of the commission’s mandate.