‘Disturbing’ rape allegations in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

‘Disturbing’ rape allegations in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

The UN called on all parties involved in the hostilities to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for sex crimes.

Ethiopians who fled the continuing fighting in Tigray region, queue to receive food aid in the Hamdayet village in eastern Kassala state, Sudan [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

The United Nations has received “disturbing” reports of sexual violence and abuse in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, including of individuals forced to rape members of their own family.

Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region, including “a high number of alleged rapes” in the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle.

“There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Patten said in a statement on Thursday.

“Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.”

Patten called on all parties involved in the hostilities to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for crimes of sexual violence.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced military operations in Tigray in early November, saying they came in response to attacks by the regional governing party on federal army camps.

Abiy declared victory after federal forces entered the regional capital in late November, though leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) remain on the run and have promised to fight on.

‘Emergency contraception’

Thousands have died in the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group, though a communications blackout and media and humanitarian access restrictions have made it difficult to assess the situation on the ground.

In her statement on Thursday, Patten noted that “medical centres have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which is often an indicator of sexual violence in conflict”.

She called for full humanitarian access to Tigray, including camps for displaced people “and refugee camps where new arrivals have allegedly reported cases of sexual violence”.

She voiced concern about “more than 5,000 Eritrean refugees in and around the area of Shire living in dire conditions, many of them reportedly sleeping in an open field with no water or food, as well as the more than 59,000 Ethiopians who have fled the country into neighbouring Sudan”.

The caretaker administration in Tigray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, state media broadcast footage of a meeting during which an unidentified man in a military uniform expressed concern about rapes in Mekelle.

“Why are women being raped in Mekelle city,” the man asked.

“It wouldn’t be shocking had it been happening during the war, because it is not manageable so it could be expected. But at this moment while federal police and local police are back in town, it is still happening.”

This entry was posted in English by Falmataa. Bookmark the permalink.

About Falmataa

Abebe Etana (Mul'is Dhugaa) is a human rights activists and Oromo nationalist who has been fighting for the Oromo people's freedom and the right to exercise self-determination. Abebe was member of Oromo students association under the umbrella of ABO/OLF in Finfinnee University main campus. He participated in the first Oromo students of Finfinnee university annual graduation bulletin in 1994 when he graduated from the university with a B>A degree in Business Administration. He also graduated from HiLCoE school of Computer Science & Technology with Associate Degree in Computer Science in August 2005. Abebe has been member of Mecha-Tulama Association in Ethiopia who contributed to the achievement of the goals of the association since the time he was at Addis Ababa University. After graduating from AAU, he was hired by Oromia Works and Urban Dev't Bureau & assigned to the Adama Branch Agency for The Administration of Rental Houses as Administration Service Head. In spite of his relocation to Adama due to work, Abebe (Mul'is) continued his active participation in the Macha-Tulama Association in Finfinnee. He was also a Part-Time instructor at the then Nazareth Technical College (now Adama university). He was teaching Business Management courses such as Entrepreneurship, Marketing Research, Risk Management & Insurance. He was actively participating in coordinating Adama University Oromo students to demand their rights and the right of the Oromo people. Due to the political pressure, continuous harassments & intimidation from the Ethiopian dictatorial regime, Abebe was forced to leave his work in Adama and join Ethiopian Airlines as Jr. Training Officer in June 2001. His rental house that he was living in with his younger brother Eyasu Etana, was illegally broken by local government official & cadres and all his personal belongings were confiscated/looted and some of them were damped in the local Kebele 11 office compound without court order. The security forces allegedly accused him & his brother as harboring anti-government forces in the Rental House they were living in and conducted meeting with those forces who oppose the govt. ......He was bitten by a Ethiopian military who were temporarily stationed in the Kebele 11 compound and were being deployed to some areas in Eastern Ethiopia. After few days he left for Finfinne with his brother after forcefully signing a document that he had received all his belonging from the Kebele representatives when in fact most of his belonging were looted by them or others under the pretext of 'property financed by anti gov't organizations.' Some time in 2000, he was interrogated by TPLF security officer in Adanma by a name Kiros. Kiros, a Tigrean, called Abebe to his office and interrogated him about his involvement in the protests, resistance and opposition against the transfer of he capital city of Oromiya form Finfinnee to Adama. He accused Abebe saying that he was closely working with Mecha-Tulama Association to oppose the decision of Oromiya regional govt to transfer the capital city of Oromiya. After he moved to Finfinnee and started work in Ethiopian airlines, he increased his participation in the

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.