By calling the desputed territory as “Western Tigray,” and saying that ethnic Amhara forces were guilty of ethnic cleansing there, Blinken took the side of the TPLF, triggering fears of return to war.
At the end of this week, at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Ethiopian government suddenly withdrew its request to end the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia that had been created in 2021 and renewed in 2022. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
In September 2022, the UN Human Rights Council voted to extend the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, which was created to investigate human rights violations committed during the two-year Ethiopian civil war that ended in December. Twelve of the 47 members of the Council are African, and eleven of them—Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Mauritania, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan—all voted no, while Malawi abstained.
Ethiopia submitted a resolution to this year’s session of the Human Rights Council to end the commission’s mandate, with the support of a list of Ethiopian and Ethiopian diaspora organizations. On Friday, however, it suddenly withdrew that resolution without explanation.
The Chair of the Commission then addressed the press, noting that the mandate was ongoing and that the peace agreement signed in Pretoria acknowledged the need for transitional justice after the war’s end, saying, “
Ethiopia had established its own commission for investigating crimes committed during the war, but the ongoing mandate of the UN Commission assumes international responsibility to investigate and seems to violate Ethiopia’s judicial sovereignty.
Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the US had come to its own conclusions that all parties to the war, including their proxy, the TPLF, were guilty of war crimes, but that the Ethiopian, Eritrean, and ethnic Amhara Forces were all guilty of crimes against humanity, and that ethnic Amhara Forces were guilty of ethnic cleansing in the disputed territory that the TPLF call Western Tigray and the Amhara call Welkait.
By calling the territory “Western Tigray,” and saying that the Amhara were guilty of ethnic cleansing there, Blinken took the side of the TPLF.
Getachaw Reda, longtime TPLF spokesman and the new interim president of Tigray—appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed—then announced that his first priority is recovering the “territorial integrity” of Tigray.
These developments triggered fears that the TPLF might resume the war for the disputed territory, perhaps with US support. – (Reported by Ann Garison)