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Ethiopia rejects UN report warning of crimes against humanity in Tigray

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Ethiopia Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed. (Photo: AFP)

NAIROBI — Ethiopia on Tuesday rejected a report by UN investigators that accused Addis Ababa of possible ongoing crimes against humanity in its war-torn Tigray region, including using starvation as a weapon.اضافة اعلان

The Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia said it had found evidence of widespread violations by all sides since fighting erupted in Tigray nearly two years ago.

This included the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel laureate, and its allies who were “intentionally causing great suffering” by denying aid to Tigray, a region of 6 million.

Kaari Betty Murungi, one of the commission’s three independent rights experts, and its chair, said the denial of food, medicine and basic services was “having a devastating impact on the civilian population”.

“We have reasonable grounds to believe it amounts to a crime against humanity,” she said on Monday following the release of the report, the commission’s first.

“We also have reasonable grounds to believe that the federal government is using starvation as a method of warfare.”

Ethiopia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, Zenebe Kebede, said the commission was “politically motivated” and their conclusions were “self-contradictory and biased”.

“There is not any single evidence that shows the government of Ethiopia used humanitarian aid as an instrument of war,” the envoy told AFP, describing the report as “a mockery” and “rubbish”.

“Therefore we have no other option but to reject this report.”

He said investigators had ignored atrocities by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which ruled Ethiopia for decades before Abiy come to power in 2018, and which Addis Ababa considers a terrorist group.

Fighting between government forces and their allies and rebels led by the TPLF reignited in August after a five-month lull.

The return to the battlefield comes as diplomatic efforts intensify to try and peacefully resolve the nearly two-year war in Africa’s second-most populous country.

Authorities in Tigray announced this month they were ready to participate in talks mediated by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with Abiy’s government.

But fighting has only escalated in the weeks since, with air strikes pounding Tigray and Ethiopia’s ally Eritrea crossing the border to join the fight against the rebels.

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