The US has raised concern over what it terms as continuing reports of ethnically-motivated atrocities by Amhara authorities in western Tigray, Ethiopia, including those highlighted by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
“In particular, we are deeply troubled by the report’s finding that these acts amount to ethnic cleansing. We note with the utmost alarm that thousands of Ethiopians of Tigrayan ethnicity reportedly continue to be detained arbitrarily in life-threatening conditions in western Tigray.
“We urge the immediate release of any such remaining detainees and call on relevant authorities to grant international monitors access to all detention facilities,” the State Department said in a statement on April 8.
The US said there must be credible investigations into and accountability for atrocities committed by any party to the conflict as part of any lasting solution to the crisis.
“We urge the government of Ethiopia to cooperate with the UN Commission of Experts on Human Rights in Ethiopia,” the statement added.
In a report titled “We Will Erase You from This Land” Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone, HRW said since the outbreak of the conflict on November 4, 2020, hundreds of thousands of Tigrayans living in Western Tigray have been displaced from their homes through threats, intimidation, and a campaign of violence and forcible removal.
“In communities across the region, Amhara security forces acting under newly appointed Amhara and Walqayte officials have been responsible for extrajudicial executions, rape and other acts of sexual violence,” the report said.
Amnesty International and HRW found that Amhara regional officials and regional special forces and militias, with federal forces’ complicity, are responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans from Western Tigray.
The US said continued reports of atrocities underscore the urgency of ending the military conflict.
“We strongly support the declarations of a cessation of hostilities by the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray regional authority and welcome the news that they have been followed by initial convoys of life-saving assistance,” State Department said, further calling on all armed actors to renounce and end human rights abuses and violence against civilians.
The United States also reiterated its call for all foreign forces to withdraw from Ethiopia as well as for the regional state authorities to remove their security forces from neighboring regions.