March 11, 2022

At least 749 civilians died, 309 suffered physical injuries in the last 3 months of 2021: EHRC report

City: Addis AbabaNews

At least 346 civilians have been subjected to unlawful and extra-judicial killing by parties to the conflict

Avatar: Ilyas Kifle
By Ilyas Kifle

Ilyas is a reporter at Addis Zeybe experienced in creative writing and content production.

At least 749 civilians died, 309 suffered physical injuries in the last 3 months of 2021: EHRC report
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Credit: EHRC

At least 403 civilians died and 309 others have suffered minor to serious physical injuries as a result of heavy artillery fire, air raids, and drone attacks, not including unlawful and extrajudicial killings by parties to the conflict in violation of international humanitarian law in the last three months of 2021, according to  Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s report issued on Mar 11 principally focusing on Afar and Amhara Region. 

At least 346 civilians have been subjected to unlawful and extra-judicial killing by parties to the conflict – mainly by Tigray Forces in Amhara and Afar regions. The investigation report also showed multiple sexual and gender-based violence by Tigray forces, arbitrary detentions, abduction, and enforced disappearances by both sides to the conflict.

EHRC conducted an investigation, after the joint investigation report of OHCHR,  into the alleged human rights violations and abuses from Sep to Dec 2021, in which the main objectives are to provide a faithful account of the human rights violations against civilians committed by all parties to the conflict.

EHRC said all parties to the conflict violated humanitarian law and caused abuses of human rights.

In Addition, In many areas covered by the investigation, and which were under their control, Tigray forces carried out widespread and organized pillaging, looting, and destruction, in which the breakdown of law and order in the local areas also resulted in some civilians taking part in the looting.

The parties to the conflict include Tigray forces and allied militia (in some locations including the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) - aka “OLF Shane”) on the one hand and the security forces of the government of Ethiopia (Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and allied security forces, Afar and Amhara security forces and allied militia) on the other.

Mentioned as a showcase in the report, “On August 4, 2021, at around 3:00 a.m., Tigray forces indiscriminately killed 107 civilians including 27 children, and injured 35 other civilians during an offensive on Afar Special Forces in Galicoma mountains, in Galicoma Kebele, Afar Region”.

On the other side, the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) conducted heavy artillery shelling on civilian homes that were being used by Tigray forces to launch attacks, caused the death of 6 civilians in Adigagra, Abraham, and Adagat Kebeles in Debarq Woreda (Amhara Region) from August 18 to September 4, 2021.  

“Because the war was conducted largely in towns and rural areas with dense civilian populations, a significant number of civilians died, suffered physical and psychological injuries as well as sexual and gender-based violence as a direct result of acts of violence committed by parties to the conflict,” reads the report.

EHRC mentioned the cause for civilian attack and destruction of civilian objects, which enjoy special protection under international laws, is because civilians were used as human shields such as conducting military operations from civilian homes and in urban areas by the parties.  

Parties to the conflict carried out indiscriminate attacks on civilians who are vulnerable including women, children, persons with disabilities, and older persons. 

The Area of the investigation covered Fenti Resu Zone, Kilebety Resu Zone, and Awesi Resu Zone in Afar Region and North Gondar Zone, North Wollo Zone, South Wollo Zone, and North Shoa Zone in Amhara Region; in addition to Oromo Administrative Zone.