Ethiopian government not detaining 1,000 people during state of emergency

GENEVA – The United Nations human rights office cites reports that Ethiopian authorities have detained at least 1,000 people, most of them of Tigrayan origin, during the state of emergency the government declared earlier this month following the conflict. a year-long brutal battle with rival Tigray.

According to Liz Throssell, a spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the arrests occurred in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the northern cities of Gondar and Bahir Dar, and elsewhere.

She told reporters on Tuesday that Ethiopian authorities often detain people suspected of “connecting with or supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front”.

Ethiopia’s war has left thousands dead and created one of the world’s worst crises. Hundreds of thousands of people face starvation in the Tigray region under what the United Nations calls a “de facto humanitarian blockade.”

“The state of emergency in effect in Ethiopia threatens to intensify the already dire human rights and human rights situation in the country,” Throssell said, referring to the November 2 government decree. “Its terms are extremely broad, with vague bans that go further to include ‘indirect moral support’ for what the government has labeled ‘ ‘terrorist groups’.

Ten local UN employees and about 34 UN contract drivers remain detained in Ethiopia, Throssell said. She expressed concern about detention conditions, including in overcrowded police stations, and said detainees have the right to know any charges against them and to a fair trial. equal.

Months of political tension in northern Ethiopia between the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Tigray leaders who once dominated the Ethiopian government erupted into a war in November 2020. After a number of clashes In the heaviest fighting of the conflict, Ethiopian soldiers fled the Tigray capital Mekele in June.

Tigray forces have launched an offensive recently and are approaching the capital, Addis Ababa, to force Abiy to step aside and lift a months-long deadly blockade that has cut off food, medicine and other vital goods. other aid from this region of about 6 million people.


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