Ethiopia: Human Rights Council establishes investigative mechanism for human rights violations
Today, the UN Human Rights Council stood up to its responsibilities and adopted a resolution addressing the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia. The EU had called for this Special Session of the Council in light of the aggravating situation on the ground, where human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian and refugee laws, continue to be committed in an alarming scale, by all parties, in all areas currently affected by the conflict. A number of these violations may amount to crimes against humanity, and urgently require further investigations by independent experts.
The resolution, presented by the EU, establishes an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia, to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into these allegations of violations and abuses, committed since 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict. It is a constructive and well-balanced resolution: urging all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international law; acknowledging and building upon the positive developments that have already taken place and the steps taken by the Ethiopian authorities to follow up on the joint report’s findings and recommendations. It also reiterates the firm commitment to the territorial integrity and unity of Ethiopia, as well as full support to the ongoing mediation efforts led by the African Union.
“Today the international community assumed its responsibilities and sent a strong signal that this Council fulfills its mandated role, including with regard to prevention of future violations and abuses. We believe that the establishment of an independent international investigative mechanism on Ethiopia is urgent and necessary to complement national efforts and ensure that a transparent and impartial accountability process is in place,” says Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva.
Such a mechanism will therefore serve as a tool to gather evidence, document atrocities and hold all parties to account, including those beyond the reach of Ethiopia’s national systems. It will not replace or render unnecessary criminal prosecution by judicial means but could complement and possibly support judicial efforts and proceedings.
“The mechanism that was created today is in our view a positive and necessary contribution to ongoing efforts for peace and justice for the people of Ethiopia. There can be no peace without human rights. Only justice can break the cycles of violence and the atmosphere of impunity, distrust and revenge. It is essential that perpetrators are held accountable in an independent, transparent and impartial manner,” states EU Ambassador Knudsen.