“UN Torture Watchdog Accuses Ethiopia of Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray, but Is the Accusation Just for Show?”
Recently, on 1997th Meeting, 76th Session, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), a body of 10 independent experts, monitors the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its States parties, has accused Ethiopia of ethnic cleansing against the Tigrayan people. The UNCAT is a committee against torture that holds states accountable for human rights violations and investigates reports of torture to stop and prevent this crime.
According to Sebastien Touze, the VP of the UNCAT, “Since November 2020, the federal authorities and the Amhara security forces have been engaging in a merciless campaign of ethnic cleansing to drive the Tigray people out of Western Tigray. This has led to widespread atrocities, including mass killings, rape, and forced displacement of Tigrayans.”
Ethiopia’s Tigray region has been the subject of international concern, with little to no action to stop it since November 2020. The conflict has since escalated into a full-blown Genocide that has displaced millions and led to widespread allegations of human rights abuses.
This latest accusation of ethnic cleansing by UNCAT adds to the growing allegations against Ethiopian authorities and Eritrean troops. The international community has called for an end to the conflict and for those responsible for human rights abuses to be held accountable.
Anyone with common sense will ask: Are they going to do anything? Will they serve justice to Tigray? Or is the accusation just for show, or is it genuine?
It’s important to clarify what we’re waiting for in regard to serving justice to Tigray. When a committee against torture accuses a state, it’s reasonable to expect aggressive and immediate action.
The recent accusation by the UNCAT against Ethiopia of ethnic cleansing against the Tigrayan people has been met with criticism and concerns over the lack of action against the perpetrators.
Despite the alarming reports of atrocities against Tigrayans, many question whether the international community is doing enough to hold Ethiopia accountable for its actions. The accusation by the UNCAT is just one of many made by human rights organizations and the international community. However, there are concerns that these accusations will not lead to any concrete action or justice for the victims.
The US Secretary’s focus on post-war reconstruction before basic services and justice/accountability is served has been met with criticism and concerns over the lack of prioritization of human rights. Many argue whether this approach is premature and negligent, giving perpetrators of future conflicts or Genocide a pass while ignoring the urgent need for justice and accountability.
Many have pointed out that the lack of action by the international community is partly due to the fact that Ethiopia is a strategic ally in the Horn of Africa, and there are fears that holding the country accountable could destabilize the country further. However, should the people of Tigray be collateral damage? How many lives must be lost in Tigray so Ethiopia can be held accountable for Crimes against Humanity? There are also concerns about the effectiveness of the UNCAT and its ability to hold States accountable for human rights violations.
While the accusation by the UNCAT is a step in the right direction, there are calls for more to be done to address the situation in Tigray. The international community must take decisive action to hold Ethiopia accountable for its actions and ensure that justice is served for the victims of these atrocities. Failing to do so risks setting a dangerous precedent and giving a pass to perpetrators of future conflicts.
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