Ethiopia slams ‘irresponsible and reckless’ statement by UN adviser

Source: AA, Friday October 13, 2023

Ethiopia has denounced a statement by the UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, calling it “irresponsible and reckless.”

A statement issued by Ethiopia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said Addis Ababa finds it “deeply regrettable” that Alice Wairimu Nderitu, entrusted with such an important mandate as preventing genocide, has chosen to make “unsubstantiated allegations and inflammatory remarks” against the country.

It said the report the UN relied on lacked a proper on-the-ground investigation and had been compiled remotely from unreliable sources.

“The government is determined to ensure the full implementation of this (peace) agreement (with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.) Ethiopia is in the final stages of formulating a Transitional Justice Policy to ensure accountability and justice,” the statement said.

Nderitu on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the heightened risk of genocide and related atrocity crimes in the Tigray, Amhara, Afar and Oromi regions of Ethiopia.

“The incident reports that we see coming out of Ethiopia are deeply disturbing and constitute a call for action,” she said. “I want to particularly draw the attention of the global community to the continued presence of risk factors for genocide and related atrocity crimes in the country.”

Nderitu said there are reports that entire families have been killed and relatives have been forced to watch horrific crimes committed against their loved ones, while whole communities have been displaced or expelled from their homes.

“The suffering of innocent civilians should never be accepted as inevitable; rather, it must reinforce our commitment to ensure that impunity does not prevail and that all possible prevention actions are prioritized,” she said.

A report by the UN’s International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia earlier this month found that all eight of the common risk factors and the majority of the specific risk factors for atrocity crimes are now present in Ethiopia.

It warned that nearly a year following the ratification of the peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the prevailing human rights conditions in the country continue to be deeply concerning.

The UN alleged that extrajudicial killings and mass arrests in Ethiopia’s Amhara region and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ethiopia since Nov. 3, 2020.

Fighting between Ethiopian government forces and Tigray rebels erupted in November 2020, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked federal army bases stationed in the northern region. But the hostilities subsided after the two sides signed agreements in Pretoria and Nairobi in November last year.

The Tigray conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions since November 2020.

A UN report released late last year put the number of displaced people at 2.75 million, with 12.5 million children said to require urgent humanitarian assistance.