Ethiopia: Authorities must ensure human rights are respected in Tigray military operation

Following Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s decision to order a military operation against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which controls the Tigray region, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said:

The decision to send the military not only signals an escalation in tensions between the federal government and Tigray regional authorities, but also puts many lives at risk and threatens a downward spiral for human rights in Ethiopia.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

“The decision to send the military not only signals an escalation in tensions between the federal government and Tigray regional authorities, but also puts many lives at risk and threatens a downward spiral for human rights in Ethiopia.

“We call on the authorities in Ethiopia, both federal and regional, to ensure that international human rights law is respected in Tigray region, and, to ensure that people’s lives are protected. The use of lethal force must be restricted to when it is strictly unavoidable against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.

We call on the authorities in Ethiopia, both federal and regional, to ensure that international human rights law is respected in Tigray region, and, to ensure that people’s lives are protected.
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

“We also call on the authorities to immediately restore telephone and internet communications in Tigray to allow people to communicate with one another in accordance with the right to freedom to expression, and to enable monitoring of the human rights situation there.”

Background

In the early hours of 4 November 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he had ordered the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) to launch a military operation in the Tigray region, accusing the regional ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) government of attacking the ENDF’s Northern Command based in the regional capital Mekelle, after “months of continued provocations and incitement for violence by the TPLF”.

“The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the Federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation,” he said.