Ethiopia is committed to peace and human rights

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Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Permanent Mission to the United Nations Geneva

On 22 September 2022, the UN Human Rights Council will hold an interactive dialogue on Ethiopia. The ‘dialogue’ will follow the presentation of the Report by the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (Commission).

The Permanent Mission of Ethiopia in Geneva reiterates the commitment of the Government of Ethiopia to ensure accountability for alleged violations of human rights in the context of the conflict in northern Ethiopia. It would be recalled that the Council welcomed the Report of the Joint Investigation Team(JIT) of the OHCHR and EHRC. The Government established an Inter-Ministerial Taskforce (IMTF) to oversee the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report of the ITT. The JIT has made significant progress and is expected to issue a preliminary report of Phase I of its investigations.

The Government took several confidence-building measures and endeavored to create conditions conducive to the protection of human rights. It lifted the State of Emergency. It declared an indefinite humanitarian truce and expedited the delivery of humanitarian aid to all affected by the conflict, among others. It ensures the provision of humanitarian aid. It will continue to collaborate with relevant humanitarian actors. Preparations are underway to restore public services to the Tigray region and adjacent areas in as soon as a conducive environment established.

The Permanent Mission of Ethiopia in Geneva underlines that the Government is committed to respecting and ensuring respect for the international obligations of the country. The country is no longer governed by a system that issues blanket denials of allegations of human rights. It is a country with a functioning independent judiciary and a law enforcement system. The Government has the political will and the domestic systems are capable of discharging their responsibility to protect human rights. The Government is committed to ensuring compliance with the obligation to protect civilians and civilian
infrastructures in conflict areas.

In these conditions, the Permanent Mission holds that it is unwarranted to single out Ethiopia for an attack at the Human Rights Council. The mandate of the Commission ends at the end of this year. Domestic institutions must be allowed to continue their work without undue interference and politicization. Even with this serious reservation on the merit of establishing the Commission, Ethiopia endeavored to work out modalities of engagement with the Commission. The idea was to use provisions in the resolution to find acceptable ways for the Commission to undertake field visits. The Commission rejected this offer. It insisted, as reflected in its Report, to follow an expansive mandate. It disregards the guidance of the Council to build upon the work of the JIT. It thus missed the opportunity to undertake an on-the-ground investigation and probably undertake professional work. Despite its protestations, remote work of this poor quality cannot be taken seriously. It only serves to further inflame tension in the country. They have complete disregard for the future of peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia. It will only serve for continued political attacks against Ethiopia.

The Commission has also issued an inflammatory press release.

The Permanent Mission has submitted a detailed rebuttal of this report. This submission responds to the Commission’s draft report submitted for comments. The final document submitted contains some changes. In the large part, it is much worse than the draft. The Commission has not added any value on top of the findings of the J[T. It tries to undermine the JIT. It misinforms the Council on the developments in the country. The Commission’s Report is an effort to appease the belligerent group. The Report glosses over widespread human rights violations by this armed group, which has committed brutal crimes against civilians and soldiers hors combat. The Commission has excluded locations, events, and incidences that would show these violations. Such deliberate excluding war crimes and
crimes against humanity is a serious offense.

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) is a force committed to protecting the people. It defends Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The ENDF does not tolerate any attack against civilians. It has investigated all allegations reported by the JIT and others. It has brought to the military court soldiers accused of such violations. It follows due process. Allegations against individuals must not be the basis to smear the good name of the ENDF.

The Permanent Mission thus reiterates its call on Members of the Human Rights Council to reject any attempt to give this substandard report any credibility and vote against any attempt to extend their mandate.

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