UN raises alarm about humanitarian situation of civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has warned about the situation of civilians in the Tigray region of Ethiopia after the government offensive.

Her office points to the continuing lack of overall humanitarian access and an ongoing communications blackout in many areas seven weeks after the conflict began.

“We have received consistent information pointing to violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all parties to the conflict, including artillery strikes on populated areas; the deliberate targeting of civilians; extrajudicial killings, and widespread looting. We are not in a position to verify these reports on the ground, but they do point to a failure by the parties to the conflict to protect civilians. This is all the more concerning given that fighting is said to be continuing, particularly in some areas of north, central and southern Tigray,” says Spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell.

Throssell has highlighted an alleged mass killing of several hundred people in the town of Mai Kadra, in the Tigray region.

“While telephone lines are beginning to be restored, the communications blackout that began on 4 November and restrictions on access raise significant concerns that the human rights and humanitarian situation is even more dire than feared. These reported allegations are likely only to be the tip of the iceberg regarding the extent and seriousness of the violations committed by all parties to the conflict. This underscores the need for independent human rights monitors to be given access to Tigray to adequately assess the human suffering resulting from the conflict, verify allegations, and to help ensure accountability.”