Ethiopia: Non-Renewal of Mandate for Commission of Inquiry on Atrocities

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Commission of Inquiry

The United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry into atrocities committed in Ethiopia will not have its mandate renewed, announced a UN spokesperson on October 4, 2023. An Amnesty official in Addis Ababa called it a “betrayal” to all victims and survivors who had relied on this commission.

The UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes committed in Ethiopia will not be renewed. A UN spokesperson made this announcement on Wednesday in Geneva. Established in 2021, the commission has been investigating human rights abuses and crimes committed in the East African country since the start of the war in Tigray. Its activities will cease in mid-October due to a lack of funding.

Most notably, the European Union (EU) was expected to take action on this matter since it initiated the Commission of Inquiry in 2021. However, it did not submit a proposal for renewal within the allotted time. Consequently, the commission’s mandate will come to an end.

Haimanot Ashenafi, from the NGO Amnesty International in Addis Ababa, expressed outrage: “This means they have decided to remove Ethiopia from the Human Rights Council’s radar. It’s shocking, disappointing, and even shameful because the commission released a report this week clearly stating that crimes are ongoing. In the Amhara region, for example, where conflicts continue between the national army and local militias.”

Ashenafi continued, “Ignoring all these signs is a collective failure for the European Union and all UN member states. It’s also a betrayal to all the victims and survivors who relied on this commission to investigate and preserve evidence of what happened in Ethiopia.”

This news is particularly hard to swallow for human rights defenders as Brussels signed a “cooperation” framework document with Addis Ababa on October 3rd. The European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, stated, “It is time to normalize our relations.”

Soukaina Sghir

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