Ethiopia: EU must redouble engagement on human rights in conflict

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Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice-President

Dear High Representative Borrell,

We are writing to urge the European Union (EU) and its member states to redouble their engagement on the human rights violations in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in the attached letter.

In a recent report “I don’t know if they realized I was a person”: Rape and sexual violence in the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, Amnesty International documented how federal government troops and other armed forces supporting them in the armed conflict against the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) have committed widespread rape against ethnic Tigrayan women and girls during the conflict that began on 4 November 2020. Given the context, scale, and gravity of the sexual violence committed against women and girls in Tigray, these violations amount to war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.

The EU and its member states have called for an immediately cessation of human rights violations including those possibly amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity – including rape and other sexual and gender-based violence, and have welcomed Ethiopian government steps toward the investigation of sexual and gender-based violence, while cautioning that more efforts are needed. The Foreign Affairs Council of 12 July likewise discussed how “violence and rape are widely used against civilians as a weapon of war” in Tigray, despite the ceasefire, and set out political priorities for the EU and its member states, including “immediately stopping human rights violations.”