Amnesty urges Ethiopia to allow human rights violations investigation

The Ethiopian government must allow an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Amhara region, Amnesty International said Friday.

The rights group noted in a statement that media outlets reported civilian deaths this week in Amhara after an airstrike.

“Amnesty International has also received allegations of mass killings and casualties in Finote Selam, Bahir Dar and Shewa Robit which merit further investigation,” it said.

Tigere Chagutah, regional director for East and Southern Africa, urged the government to grant “unhindered access to the Independent Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) and other independent investigative bodies, alongside independent media, to thoroughly examine these allegations.”

It also denounced the ban on internet access since Aug. 3, 2022, and the informal conditions of detention.

“The sweeping state of emergency gives the Ethiopian government unchecked powers while internet blockages make it harder to monitor the situation in the Amhara region,” added Chagutah.

The Amhara region, known for its cultural richness and historical significance, has been grappling with unrest and clashes.

Fighting started in April 2022, triggered by the federal government’s integration order that aimed to merge security forces from Ethiopia’s 11 regions into the federal forces, but it resulted in violent protests in Amhara.

Local communities resisted the move, expressing fears of losing autonomy and voicing distrust toward outsiders handling security matters in the region. The resistance led to heightened tensions and clashes in the area between the federal military and a local militia group.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency Aug. 4 to contain escalating violence in the Amhara region, the nation’s second-largest administrative area.

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