Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): The security situation of civilians and internally displaced persons in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray regional state “risks becoming a humanitarian crisis,” the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said late Monday in a report.
The EHRC, a rights group established by the Ethiopian parliament, carried out its first investigative mission in western Tigray’s cities of Dansha and Humera from November 14 to November 18, 2020, and its second in southern Tigray’s cities of Bissober and Ullaga from December 31 to January 5 this year.
During the probing process, group members visited affected areas, hospitals, and temporary shelters for displaced persons, and spoke with governmental and non-governmental sources, victims, and other relevant bodies.
In the four cities, the report said, the conflict has caused civilian casualties, exposed civilian residences and commercial properties to looting and other damage, and destructed infrastructure.
For example, in Bissober and Ullaga, 31 civilians have died, 104 residential houses were partially or completely destroyed by fire, and local schools and health centers sustained heavy damage, the report said.
“The continued disruption of public services such as electricity and water risks further exacerbating the humanitarian situation for residents and displaced persons,” it said.
Civilians have reported that they feared for their safety because of their ethnicity and lack of security in the areas, it said.
“Overall, the security situation in all four cities included in the commission’s two missions and the fact that the justice sector bodies have still not resumed their operations has made it difficult to ensure the protection and safety of civilians,” it said.
More reports will be published following the commission’s ongoing investigative missions in Tigray’s capital city of Mekelle and other parts of the regional state, which started on January 10, it added.
Weeks of fighting in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the regional state until its defeat, and the Ethiopian Defense Forces have reportedly left hundreds of people dead, thousands displaced, and millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The Ethiopian government has assigned an interim administration to administer the regional state following the TPLF defeat.