Just launched by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the investigation into the atrocities in Tigray is already being rejected by Addis Ababa.
Tigray, in northern Ethiopia, has been in conflict since November between the federal and regional governments. Thousands have died in the violence and there have been reports of mass crimes.
The ACHPR has therefore set up a team to investigate. Its work officially began on Thursday, June 17, but Ethiopia has said it will not cooperate. On the contrary, it has called for an “immediate halt” to the work of the five investigators. Addis Ababa criticized the Human Rights Commission for having formed the team “unilaterally.
Yesterday, while the investigations had just officially begun for a period of three months, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered that they had no legal basis and did not respect the framework that had been negotiated. In fact, Addis Ababa is contesting the fact that the commission is not a joint one and therefore does not include representatives of the Ethiopian government.
But the institution seems to be resisting the pressure for now.
Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel, also a member of the team, said a joint investigation with the government “could affect the independence” of its work.
The team leader added that the investigation would take its course. “What we have started cannot be stopped,” said Remy Ngoy Lumbu of Congo. He said Addis Ababa had given them permission to go to Tigray, although no date has been set yet. “What we find will not end up hidden in a drawer,” Remy Ngoy Lumbu promised.
And as if to anticipate a ban, the group explained that if they could not go to Tigray, they could visit neighboring countries and talk to the thousands of refugees who have fled Ethiopia.