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MORNING - International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia Finds Reasonable Grounds to Believe that the Federal Government Has Committed Crimes against Humanity in Tigray Region and that Tigrayan Forces Have Committed Serious Human Rights Abuses, Some Amounting to War Crimes

Meeting Summaries

 

Council Concludes Interactive Discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Discusses Remaining Challenges to Implementing the Recommendations of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar with the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights

Kaari Betty Murungi, Chairperson of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, told the Human Rights Council this morning that its report found reasonable grounds to believe that the parties to the conflict in Ethiopia had committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law since November 2020. It found reasonable grounds to believe that many of these acts amounted to war crimes.

The report found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies had committed crimes against humanity in Tigray region, said Ms. Murungi. Some of these crimes were ongoing. The report also underscored the dire humanitarian situation in Tigray, where the Federal Government and its allies had denied some six million people access to basic services for over a year. The report found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government was using starvation as a method of warfare. The report also found reasonable grounds to believe that Tigrayan forces had committed serious human rights abuses, some of which amounted to war crimes.

Ms. Murungi noted that after a five-month cessation of hostilities, fighting resumed last month between the Federal Government and its allies, and forces backing the Tigray People's Liberation Front. That fighting appeared to be intensifying. She said there was a need for an external, independent and impartial mechanism to address ongoing violations and accountability.

Ethiopia, speaking as a country concerned, said that it had been the subject of unfair and biased scrutiny at the Council for more than a year now. Such misguided campaigns against Ethiopia should stop as the Government was implementing the recommendations of the Joint Investigation Team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and abiding by its international human rights and international humanitarian law obligations. The Commission had submitted a report of substandard quality, with unsubstantiated allegations, and it had not met the standard of proof for such investigations. The Council should reject this report and oppose any attempt to extend the mandate of this Commission.

In the ensuing discussion, some speakers said that parties to the conflict should seize the opportunity to immediately end hostilities and engage in direct talks with the aim of reaching a formal ceasefire agreement and a permanent political solution. Some said the report clearly outlined the reported brutality of methods of warfare used by all parties to the conflict, including extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence and starvation of the civilian population, and the Commission found that, in several instances, there were reasonable grounds to believe that these violations amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity. One speaker said the Commission had gone beyond its mandate, and made statements that went beyond its remit, underscoring that the Commission should not undermine the measures of accountability undertaken by the Ethiopian Government. A number of other speakers said they rejected bias, selectivity, politicisation and double standards in the Council.

Speaking in the interactive discussion were European Union, Denmark on behalf of a group of countries, Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of a group of countries, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Cuba, Germany, Australia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Namibia, China, Netherlands, Czech Republic, United States, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, South Sudan, Belarus, Belgium, Greece, and Canada.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council held an interactive dialogue with the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights on a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the progress made and remaining challenges to implementing the recommendations of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar.

Nada Al-Nashif, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the report, said after the military coup of February 2021, the Myanmar military had continued its exploitation of the country’s resources to advance its own interests and fuel a campaign of violence and repression against Myanmar’s people. The report urged the international community to take all steps within its power to support the people of Myanmar and to act in coordinated fashion to financially isolate the military. Member States should implement additional targeted measures against key entities that facilitated the Tatmadaw’s continued access to foreign currency.

In the discussion on the report on Myanmar, many speakers condemned the military’s illegal coup d’état. They called on the junta to cease all attacks on civilians, release all people arbitrarily detained, stop abusing the Rohingya, and cease imposing the death penalty on pro-democracy leaders. States needed to hold the junta accountable for their crimes, place an embargo on arms, and prevent flows of financial resources to the military. States also needed to put an end to the climate of impunity and stop the flow of arms into Myanmar. Some speakers encouraged States to respect the sovereignty of Myanmar and not interfere in its domestic affairs. One speaker called for a halt to illegal unilateral coercive measures, which were causing untold suffering for the Myanmar people. Another speaker said that it was deplorable that the report suggested the use of such sanctions.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, France, Luxembourg, Australia, Maldives, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Namibia, China, United States, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Canada, Thailand, Malawi, Jordan, Singapore, Gambia, Türkiye, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, and Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic.

Also speaking were Edmund Rice International, Organization for Poverty Alleviation and Development, Human Rights Now, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Centre for Civil and Political Rights, and iuventum e.V.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

In the discussion, some speakers said that since the military coup in February 2021, the most serious crimes were being committed on a daily basis by the Myanmar authorities, including sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children. The Rohingya continued to live in horrendous conditions, both inside and outside of Myanmar, waiting for a possibility to safely return to their homes. The reports of human rights abuses committed by the military were strongly condemned, including the executions of four pro-democracy activists in July following secret and unfair trials. One speaker said the international community should respect the political independence, sovereignty, and the will of the people of Myanmar, in order to restore peace at an early date.

In concluding remarks, Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said the international response to the crisis in Myanmar had failed. The pattern of the response from the international community needed to change. A coalition of like-minded nations needed to be established immediately. All Member States should halt the sale of weapons to the Myanmar military. All States should deny the legitimacy of the Myanmar junta. There needed to be greater investment in humanitarian aid. Member States should better support people fleeing Myanmar by increasing resettlement quotas and by providing legal status to Myanmar refugees. If there was no change in the way the United Nations responded to this crisis, Mr. Andrews said he would return with news that the situation had again worsened. He urged the Council to do the right thing for the people of Myanmar.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were China, Czechia, Malaysia, United States, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Croatia, Bulgaria, Thailand, Malawi, Japan, and Germany.

Also speaking were Baptist World Alliance, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Article 19 - International Centre Against Censorship, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Centre for Civil and Political Rights, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Partners for Transparency, iuventum e.V., and International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fifty-first regular session can be found here.

The next meeting of the Council will be at 3 p.m. this afternoon, when it will conclude its interactive dialogue with the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia. It will then hold an interactive dialogue with the commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, followed by an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Burundi.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

The interactive dialogue with Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, started in the previous meeting and a summary can be found here.

Discussion

Continuing the discussion, some speakers said that since the military coup in February 2021, the most serious crimes were being committed on a daily basis by the Myanmar authorities, including sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children. There could be no justification for the killing of children and unarmed civilians. The regime’s executions of pro-democracy and opposition leaders in July were shameful acts that further demonstrated its disregard for human rights. Moreover, the attacks were carried out in circumstances of deeply rooted structural impunity. The Rohingya continued to live in horrendous conditions, both inside and outside of Myanmar, waiting for a possibility to safely return to their homes. The importance of accountability and ending impunity to find a lasting solution could not be ignored.

Instead of seeing an improvement, the situation in Myanmar had worsened and the scope of crime had expanded according to the latest reports. Some speakers said the military junta ignored international human rights law and disposed of those who expressed the slightest form of opposition. The reports of human rights abuses committed by the military were strongly condemned, including the executions of four pro-democracy activists in July following secret and unfair trials, which were another indicator of the complete abandonment of the rule of law in Myanmar. There should be concerted targeted economic action to bring accountability to those guilty of human rights violations and other abuses.

Many speakers condemned the coup, expressing the deepest regard for those who so bravely stood up to the military junta and provided an invaluable testimony of the crimes and human rights violations committed, knowing that their own lives were at stake. The Myanmar authorities should stop all human rights violations immediately and cooperate with the Special Rapporteur as well as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. The authorities should release all arbitrarily detained persons, and fully cooperate with United Nations mechanisms, as well as the Special Envoy of the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. All human rights violations and abuses must cease immediately. Civilians, including humanitarian workers, must be protected from violence by all parties. Unobstructed humanitarian access must be allowed to reach Myanmar’s most vulnerable, without pre-condition, and the creation of the necessary conditions for a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons must be put in place.

One speaker regretted that Myanmar had not participated in the dialogue. The international community should persist in dialogue and cooperation in order to restore political stability and peace at all levels in Myanmar, instead of complicating the situation. The international community should respect the political independence, sovereignty, and the will of the people of Myanmar, in order to restore peace at an early date.

Concluding Remarks

THOMAS ANDREWS, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said the international response to the crisis in Myanmar had failed. The pattern of the response from the international community needed to change. People in Myanmar could not help but notice the difference in the response to the crisis in Ukraine compared to the situation in Myanmar. There had been no Security Council resolution, there had been no targeting of the Myanmar junta’s access to the international banking system, and no other targeted sanctions on financial and military resources. Actions spoke louder than words. The Security Council needed to pass targeted economic sanctions, but that would not happen. A coalition of like-minded nations needed to be established immediately. All Member States should halt the sale of weapons to the Myanmar military.

All States should deny the legitimacy of the Myanmar junta. The junta was currently organising what they called an “election”. This would not be an election. You could not have a free and fair election when you locked up and tortured opponents. States should not recognise this fraud. There needed to be greater investment in humanitarian aid and the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund. Member States should better support people fleeing Myanmar by increasing resettlement quotas and by providing legal status to Myanmar refugees. States also needed to pursue accountability for the junta through the International Criminal Court and support survivors providing testimony.

Mr. Andrews noted that persons with disabilities had been disproportionately impacted by the coup. They were unable to flee the military’s violent attacks, and had been disproportionately affected by the collapse of the education and health systems. Persons with disabilities in Myanmar needed increased support.

There was a leadership vacuum in the international community. It needed to respond with coordinated support. If there was no change in the way the United Nations responded to this crisis, Mr. Andrews said he would return to the Council with news that the situation had again worsened. He urged the Council to do the right thing for the people of Myanmar.

Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Implementing the Recommendations of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar

The Council has before it the report  of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights  on the progress made and remaining challenges to implementing the recommendations of the independent international fact-finding mission on  Myanmar (A/HRC/51/41).

Presentation of the Report

NADA AL-NASHIF, United Nations Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the report, said after the military coup of February 2021, the Myanmar military had continued its exploitation of the country’s resources to advance its own interests and fuel a campaign of violence and repression against Myanmar’s people. It had steadily escalated its use of force on cities, towns and villages throughout the country, consistently repressing and terrorising the country’s population in its attempt to assert full control. Despite the dramatic economic, political, financial and social deterioration in the country, the military’s so-called State Administrative Council continued to prioritise military operations by increasing defence spending and reducing budget allocations to education, health and social protection. The State Administrative Council had failed to govern in meaningful and sustainable ways, compounded by the Myanmar people’s courageous resistance to military rule.

The report showed that since the military coup, some companies had ended their business relationships with military-owned companies, in line with certain recommendations made by the fact-finding mission. Ms. Al-Nashif said the coup had further heightened the reputational and other business risks of such relationships, whether for international or Myanmar companies. In parallel, several Member States had introduced further targeted sanctions, including on military leaders, military-owned entities and some State-owned entities now under the direct control of the State Administrative Council. However, the military’s continued use of foreign currency to buy arms, particularly, aircraft, aerial munitions, and artillery, had enabled its attacks against its opponents, including in populated areas, as well as the targeting of civilians and locations protected under international humanitarian and human rights law.

Ms. Al-Nashif said the report urged the international community to take all steps within its power to support the people of Myanmar and to act in coordinated fashion to financially isolate the military. In so doing, efforts must be made to avoid adverse socio-economic impacts on the people of Myanmar more generally. To that end, consultation on appropriate steps with civil society and the wider democratic movement, including the National Unity Government, representatives from ethnic and religious minorities, and trade unions, was crucial. Member States should implement additional targeted measures against key entities that facilitated the Tatmadaw’s continued access to foreign currency. All businesses active in Myanmar or sourcing from the country should take steps to ensure their operations did not economically benefit the military, including by conducting ongoing and transparent heightened human rights due diligence. These measures were fundamental to uphold business and human rights principles and to ensure that financial partnerships did not fuel human rights violations.

Discussion

Speaking in the discussion, many speakers welcomed the report and condemned the military’s illegal coup d’état. They called on the junta to cease all attacks on civilians, release all people arbitrarily detained, stop abusing the Rohingya, and cease imposing the death penalty on pro-democracy leaders. States needed to hold the junta accountable for their crimes, place an embargo on arms, and prevent flows of financial resources to the military. Current sanctions were too limited, a speaker said. The sale of arms to the military exacerbated the situation. Some speakers said that support from certain States encouraged the military to continue to abuse civilians with impunity. States needed to put an end to the climate of impunity and stop the flow of arms into Myanmar. The planned elections would not be democratic and should not be recognised, one speaker said.

Some speakers called for private businesses to stop doing business with the military, and encouraged enhanced due diligence for businesses operating in Myanmar. One speaker called on the High Commissioner to compile a list of international companies that continued to do business with the junta.

A number of speakers welcomed the International Court of Justice’s action on the situation, and called on the military to honour its verdict. Military leaders also needed to honour the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Five Point Consensus. Myanmar would not comply with its obligations unless put under pressure by the international community. One speaker called on States to recognise the National Unity Government as the legitimate government of Myanmar.

Many speakers expressed concern about the worsening humanitarian crisis. The people of Myanmar had been taken hostage by the military. Rising inflation and constraints on agriculture were leading to increased food insecurity, one speaker said. There had been credible reports of torture of journalists and human rights defenders by the junta, another speaker said. Rohingyas, particularly women and girls and persons with disabilities, and Muslim minorities continued to be victims of human rights abuses. Rohingyas needed to be supported to safely return to their homes. States needed to have unhindered humanitarian access to the people of Myanmar, and to coordinate humanitarian efforts through international platforms. Visas and support needed to be provided for those fleeing the country. One speaker called for a United Nations project to support Rohingya to study in international educations institutions.

Some speakers encouraged States to respect the sovereignty of Myanmar and not interfere in its domestic affairs. One speaker called for a halt to illegal unilateral coercive measures, which were causing untold suffering for the Myanmar people. Another speaker said that it was deplorable that the report suggested the use of such sanctions. Dialogue encouraging peace for Myanmar citizens and the Rohingya needed to continue. A speaker said that the situation should not be politicised. A constructive approach was impossible without access to the country itself. One speaker said that it was regrettable that Myanmar was not able to participate in the dialogue. This speaker urged States not to interfere in the internal affairs of other States. Interference with normal military trade was not acceptable.

Concluding Remarks

NADA AL-NASHIF, Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the situation in Myanmar remained in a downward spiral, inflicting immense suffering on the people, and creating a source of refugees and regional instability. The fact-finding mission had provided an early warning of what could happen if the impunity of the Myanmar military was allowed to retain its stranglehold on power and the economy, as had happened. There was an urgent need for new strategies to end the violence and return to democracy, as well as the safe return of Rohingya refugees. Although the context had changed, the fact-finding mission’s recommendations remained equally relevant today. The report outlined some suggestions that if effectively implemented and in a coordinated way would curtail the Tatmadaw’s ability to exploit Myanmar’s economic resources and access funds that allowed it to maintain its military repression of the country. Member States should consider ratcheting up carefully targeted sanctions, through the international banking system.

Unilateral sanctions should be carefully targeted, and should be developed in consultation with representatives of the democratic movement, trade unions and civil society. The Member States should multiply their concerted efforts to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar. The human rights and humanitarian situation compelled all to act: 14.4 million of the population were now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and the delivery of that had largely been blocked by the military. Member States should increase their support to the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan, and find creative mechanisms for civil society representatives, including the National Unity Government, and ethnic organizations to be involved in this response and protect refugees. Regional cooperation through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations had a vital role to play in this regard, and the international community could and should work alongside regional countries and neighbours to ensure the effective implementation of the Five Point Plan and other humanitarian initiatives.

It was critical to keep the situation of the Rohingya in focus, and the international community should support Bangladesh in that regard. Sadly, the prospects for safe and voluntary return appeared remote at the moment and the High Commissioner encouraged Bangladesh and donors to increase opportunities for the refugees in education and economic activity, as they continued to explore options to accelerate resettlement.

Interactive Dialogue with the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia

Report

The Council has before it the  report  of the  International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (A/HRC/51/46).

Presentation of Report

KAARI BETTY MURUNGI, Chairperson of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, said that, after a five-month cessation of hostilities, fighting resumed last month between the Federal Government and its allies, and forces backing the Tigray People's Liberation Front. That fighting appeared to be intensifying. Credible sources indicated an escalation in drone attacks employing explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas; United Nations humanitarian air service flights into Tigray had been cancelled since 26 August; and there were reports of involvement by Eritrean forces along the border. There was a need for an external, independent, and impartial mechanism to address ongoing violations and accountability.

The Commission had met with the Ethiopian Government and other stakeholders in a visit to Addis Ababa in July of this year, and held a constructive dialogue. However, the Federal Government did not grant the Commission access to any areas outside of Addis Ababa.

The Commission had conducted a comprehensive investigation into three selected incidents and two themes. The incidents examined included a shelling, killings, and a drone strike on a camp for internally displaced persons. The themes examined were rape and sexual violence and the denial and obstruction of humanitarian access. The report found reasonable grounds to believe that the parties to the conflict had committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law since November 2020. It found reasonable grounds to believe that many of these acts amounted to war crimes. It found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies had committed crimes against humanity in Tigray region. Some of these crimes were ongoing.

The report underscored the dire humanitarian situation in Tigray, where the Federal Government and its allies had denied some six million people access to basic services for over a year, including electricity, internet, telecommunications, and banking. The report found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies had looted and destroyed goods indispensable for the survival of the civilian population in Tigray. These measures had left 90 per cent of the population in dire need of assistance, representing an 80 per cent increase since the beginning of the conflict. Most of the population in Tigray was now surviving on limited and nutritionally inadequate diets. Sources also reported an increase in desperate means to survive, such as child marriage and child labour, human trafficking, and transactional sex. The report found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government was using starvation as a method of warfare.

Ms. Murungi said the report found reasonable grounds to believe that the Ethiopian Air Force committed war crimes, including intentionally directing an attack against civilians when it struck a camp for internally displaced persons in Dedebit with an armed drone in January 2022 which killed 60 civilians, including many children. The Commission had received reports of drone strikes in Tigray in the last four weeks that had killed and injured civilians, including children.

The report found reasonable grounds to believe that Tigrayan forces had committed serious human rights abuses, some of which amounted to war crimes, including large-scale killings of Amhara civilians, rape and sexual violence, and widespread looting and destruction of civilian property in Kobo and Chenna. The Commission also found that rape and crimes of sexual violence had been perpetrated on a staggering scale since the conflict began with Ethiopian and Eritrean forces and regional militias targeting Tigrayan women and girls with particular violence and brutality. Tigrayan forces also committed rape and sexual violence against Amhara women and girls and Eritrean refugees. Survivors from all areas faced devastating long-term impacts on their physical and mental health.

The Commission had engaged with the Federal Government’s Inter-Ministerial Task Force and National Dialogue Commission, but was not able to confirm much of the information provided. Some of the measures they put forth would, if implemented, contribute to transitional justice. The report recommended that the Federal Government immediately cease hostilities and violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law; investigate and bring to justice members of their forces who had committed serious violations; and ensure full, unfettered and sustained humanitarian access to Tigray.

There were reasonable grounds to believe that many of the indicators and triggers contained in the 2014 United Nations Framework for Analysis of Atrocity Crimes were present in Ethiopia today, as the horrific and dehumanising acts of violence committed during the conflict seemed to go beyond mere intent to kill and, instead, reflected a desire to destroy. The work of the Commission supplemented the critical peace process led by the African Union, which sought political, non-military solutions to the conflict in northern Ethiopia. The Commission hoped that this process would lead to peace and security in Ethiopia.

Statement by Country Concerned

Ethiopia , speaking as a country concerned, said Ethiopia had been the subject of unfair and biased scrutiny at this august body for more than a year now. The activities around this Council seemed to be driven by a politically motivated and slanted narrative. Such misguided campaigns against Ethiopia should stop as the Government of Ethiopia was implementing the recommendations of the Joint Investigation Team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and abiding by its international human rights and international humanitarian law obligations.

Even as Ethiopia was confronting an insurrectionist armed group that had endangered the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, it remained firmly committed to human rights. From the outset, Ethiopia had objected to the establishment of the Commission, founded on a series of erroneous premises. Despite these reservations, however, the Government had engaged the Commission in a genuine effort of arriving at modalities that could have allowed it to work with the Commission.

The Commission had submitted a report of substandard quality, with unsubstantiated allegations, and it had not met the standard of proof for such investigations. The report failed to meet a modicum of objectivity, professionalism, and impartiality. It made grave accusations against the Government and its armed forces without adducing proof. This practice of targeting countries like Ethiopia ultimately undermined the authority and credibility of the Human Rights Council. Ethiopia was taking concrete measures to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to account, and was committed to peacefully resolving the conflict under the auspices of the African Union. The Council should reject this report and oppose any attempt to extend the mandate of this Commission.

Discussion

In the ensuing interactive debate, some speakers said that parties to the conflict should seize the opportunity to immediately end hostilities and engage in direct talks with the aim of reaching a formal ceasefire agreement and a permanent political solution. The gravity and scale of human rights violations and abuses, perpetrated by all parties to the conflict since its beginning, was appalling. These included widespread sexual and gender-based violence, ethnic violence, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrests, attacks on civilians, forcible displacement of civilians, pillaging and looting. This must stop immediately. The report clearly outlined the reported brutality of methods of warfare used by all parties to the conflict, including extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence and starvation of the civilian population, and the Commission found that, in several instances, there was reasonable grounds to believe that these violations amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There was deep concern for the humanitarian situation, further exacerbated by the resumption of hostilities in northern Ethiopia. Unhindered humanitarian access and delivery of humanitarian aid to all affected communities must be ensured, as well as the conditions for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return or relocation of displaced persons. Humanitarian workers must be protected, and essential services must be restored. There must be an accountability process, without which there would be no peace or justice for victims. There should be an African Union-led peace process, and a negotiated political settlement, with accountability for all perpetrators, and redress for survivors.

A number of speakers said that the report proved the need to extend the Commission’s mandate to further investigate the situation in Ethiopia and to elaborate on how to ensure accountability and prevent impunity for these violations. The Human Rights Council had called on the Commission to complete the works undertaken by the Joint Team, and the Government should respect the conclusions of the report, which met all the requirements of investigation and evidence of the United Nations.

One speaker said the Commission had gone beyond its mandate, and made statements that went beyond its remit, underscoring that the Commission should not undermine the measures of accountability undertaken by the Ethiopian Government. The Commission should use its mandate to investigate the abuses committed in the North that were not covered by the Joint Mechanism, and ensure that accountability occurred. The Council’s mechanisms should be free of politicisation, as this was the most effective way forward to protect and promote human rights. A number of other speakers said they rejected bias, selectivity, politicisation and double standards in the Council, and urged greater cooperation between the international community’s mechanisms and the country concerned.

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not an official record. English and French versions of our releases are different as they are the product of two separate coverage teams that work independently.

 

HRC22.095E