Human Rights Watch has called on African leaders to put pressure on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to end ongoing human rights abuses against the Tigray community as well as urge Ethiopian leaders to lift the blockade on the Tigray region, to facilitate humanitarian assistance.
The human rights body held a virtual media conference on Thursday ahead of Abiy’s inauguration for a new five-year term in office. Polls were not held in the Tigray region over security concerns.
Three of the country’s regions are holding elections on Thursday for federal parliamentary seats.
In November last year, Abiy sent troops to Tigray to topple the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after what he said was the rebel movement’s attacks on army camps. That has now spiraled into a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and left at least 1.7 million people displaced.
As #Ethiopia prepares for the formation of new government, @_AfricanUnion Heads of State should use the opportunity to push for an end to the humanitarian blockade & ensure that #HumanRights are front and center in an African-led peace mediation strategy. pic.twitter.com/qPRffCb1Av
— Carine Kaneza Nantulya (@CarineNantulya) September 30, 2021
The United Nations has warned that at least 400 000 people in the region are living in famine conditions. As Prime Minister Abiy prepares to take the oath of office, Human Rights Watch wants the African Union to put pressure on him to end the crisis.
Humanitarian assistance has not reached those who need it most following what aid agencies say is a de facto blockade by the government. But the government blames it on the Tigray leadership.
In May this year, the US announced sanctions against the Ethiopian and Eritrean officials as well as members of the security forces.
Ethiopia has committed to working with AU to remove issue in the Tigray region: