The UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, delivered this statement during the Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner’s Oral Update on Human Rights in Tigray.
Thank you, Madam President.
The United Kingdom is grateful for the High Commissioner’s update. We welcome the joint investigation by OHCHR and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.
The conflict in Ethiopia has entered its eleventh month, with both sides continuing to pursue a futile military solution. Over 400,000 people are experiencing famine conditions, yet the Government is presiding over a de facto blockade of Tigray, and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has expanded the conflict into Amhara and Afar states, causing more human suffering.
The UK is concerned by the many reports of brutal and systematic sexual violence, of massacres, of forced displacement of people along ethnic lines, and of the indiscriminate shelling of towns. There has been a growing incidence of hate speech and discrimination. Humanitarian workers have become targets, and 23 have been killed.
If the situation does not improve Ethiopia will be the scene of a human tragedy on a scale unparalleled this century. As a longstanding friend of Ethiopia, the UK calls for the fighting to stop, for unfettered humanitarian access, and for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law to be respected.
The UK welcomes the announcement that a robust report will be issued on 1 November. We call on the High Commissioner to hold an intersessional briefing for Members as soon as possible following the report’s publication followed by a thorough process to enable the full implementation of recommendations.
How does the High Commissioner intend to achieve this?