ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Thursday said over 100 cases of rape have recently been reported in the northern Tigray State, the scene of a “law enforcement operation” against rebels late last year.
“In the past two months alone, 108 cases of rape have been reported in Mekelle, Ayder, Adigrat, and Wukro hospitals,” the EHRC said in a press release.
On Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government launched a massive “law enforcement operation” against the now-defunct and outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), whose forces had attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.
On Nov. 28, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the military confrontation after the fall of the regional capital Mekelle, but government sources say there has been sporadic fighting in the region to this day.
“The commission has received reports of loss of lives, bodily and mental injury, instances of gender-based violence, looting, and other human rights violations including in the areas of Tigray which it has not been able to access yet,” the release said.
It added that the continued disruption of many infrastructural and other services, including banking, had limited the movement of food, medical items, and other basic goods, and also hindered the full resumption of healthcare services and law enforcement.
“While the commission has noted some improvements in terms of provision of humanitarian assistance in Mekelle and other areas that it has visited, significantly more effort is still required to meet the extent of humanitarian need on time,” it said.
Human rights abuses in the region, according to the rights group, have been exacerbated by slow progress in rehabilitating infrastructure facilities destroyed in recent armed confrontations.
Slow progress “in efforts to restore the infrastructure and to fully resume social and administrative services in Tigray Region is exposing residents and internally displaced persons to further human rights violations,” the commission said.
The commission monitored the region from Jan. 10 to Jan. 23, 2021, the release said, adding: “The mission talked to military and civilian leadership, as well as residents, health sector workers, affected persons, and internally displaced persons in various temporary shelters in Mekelle city.”
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