Ethiopian Militias Target Tigrayans in ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Campaign, Human Rights Groups Say

Ethiopian militias carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing in conflict-hit northern Tigray region, a joint investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International found.

According to the 207-page report that covers events between November 2020 and December 2021, officials and paramilitaries from the neighboring Amhara region committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in western Tigray.

The report said that Amhara officials joined the Ethiopian army and its allies to seize western Tigray in the first four weeks of the 16-month war.

The armed forces used indiscriminate shelling and execution to force people to leave towns and threatened to kill civilians who wanted to stay, the report alleged.

The armed forces also unlawfully detained hundreds of Tigrayans, according to the report.

Researchers interviewed 423 people, mainly survivors of alleged abuses, in over 15 months and consulted medical and forensic reports, court documents, satellite images, photographs, and videos.

The report included an interview with 27-year-old Jamila who said that Amhara soldiers entered her shop and raped her in front of her two children.

Jamila said that the soldiers told her that they were “purifying your blood.”

HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said that Ethiopian authorities “have steadfastly denied the shocking breadth of the crimes that have unfolded and have egregiously failed to address them.”

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard called on concerned governments “o help bring an end to the ethnic cleansing campaign, ensure that Tigrayans are able to safely and voluntarily return home, and make a concerted effort to obtain justice for these heinous crimes.”

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