World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Exceedingly Worrying And Volatile Situation In Ethiopia – Bachelet

The following is a transcript of remarks UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made at a press conference in Geneva on 9 December 2020 in response to questions on Ethiopia:

“The situation in Ethiopia is exceedingly worrying and volatile and – as I had warned – is spiraling out of control, with appalling impact on civilians.

In the Tigray region itself, fighting is reportedly continuing - in spite of Government claims to the contrary. We have reports that particularly areas surrounding towns like Mekelle, Sherero, Axum, Abiy Addi, and the borders between the Amhara and Tigray regions, fighting continues between federal forces and the TPLF, and affiliated militias on both sides.

We have corroborated information of gross human rights violations and abuses – including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, looting, abductions and sexual violence against women and girls. There are reports of forced recruitment of Tigrayan youth to fight against their own communities.

A major impediment is that communication in the region remains limited, and we have been unable to access the worst affected areas so are unable to fully verify these allegations through fact-finding missions.

There is an urgent need for independent monitoring of the human rights situation in the Tigray region, for all necessary measures to protect civilians, and for accountability for violations.

The humanitarian situation is deeply distressing. In spite of an agreement between the Government and the UN, unfettered humanitarian access has not been possible. I appeal to the Government to fulfill the Prime Minister’s pledge to ensure humanitarian access, and to ensure access to water, electricity and other basic needs is restored.

Elsewhere in Ethiopia, there are numerous reports of ethnic profiling of Tigrayans, including in Addis. We have reports of dismissals from jobs – including in the civil service – harassment of Tigrayan journalists and hate speech against Tigrayans. Such discriminatory actions are deeply unjust but are also fostering divisiveness and sowing the seeds for further instability and conflict. I urge the Government to take immediate measures to halt such discrimination.

We are also concerned that there has been a reported rise in intercommunal violence in recent weeks in other parts of Ethiopia, particularly in the Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali, Afar and Oromia regions, which has reportedly resulted in fatalities.

I urge the Government to ensure that humanitarian actors can do their life-saving work without fear of attack, and to ensure that those responsible for attacks against humanitarian workers are held accountable in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian laws and standards.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>