World G7 condemns 'rights abuses' in Tigray conflict
Reports of sexual violence, massacres in Ethiopia impact Australian diaspora community
Abba Yohannes Kebede has monitored the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in horror. He says the community in Australia is reeling from reports of massacres and sexual violence amid civil conflict.The priest at the Hamere Noah Kidanemihret Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Adelaide said the ethnic Tigrayan community in Australia is reeling from reports of massacres and sexual violence amid civil conflict in Ethiopia.
The G7 group of leading economic powers has said it is "strongly concerned" by reports of human rights abuses in Ethiopia's conflict-hit Tigray region.
The group, which includes the UK, US and the EU, called for the reported crimes to be investigated and those responsible to be held to account.
They also urged Eritrea to withdraw troops that are fighting alongside Ethiopia against forces in Tigray.
Both countries' troops have been accused of numerous rights abuses.
These include mass killings of civilians, sexual violence, looting and the abuse of refugees.suggesting the Ethiopian military carried out a massacre in which at least 15 men were killed.
‘Horrific’: MSF says Ethiopian troops executed 4 men in Tigray
Doctors Without Borders says its staff witnessed troops drag men off public buses and execute them in embattled region.In a statement, the organisation also known by its French acronym, MSF, said three staff members had been travelling in a “clearly marked” MSF vehicle on Tuesday on the road from regional capital Mekelle to Adigrat, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) further north, when the attack occurred.
Eritrea has dismissed the accusations, while Ethiopia's prime minister has previously denied that any civilians have been killed.
The conflict began in November after the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) captured military bases in the northern Ethiopian region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed then ordered an offensive to oust the group.
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The TPLF had been the ruling party in the area, but fell out with Mr Abiy over his efforts to increase the power of the central government.
Can Eritrea’s Afwerki hold on to power after the Tigray war?
The Eritrean president finds himself in an increasingly difficult situation. He could still resist pressure from Addis Ababa and keep Eritrean troops in Tigray. But remaining in a hostile environment for too long would have a massive human cost not only for the local population but also for the invading troops. Moreover, the troops themselves could turn against the political leadership. Sources from the conflict area have recently told me that discontent is already simmering within the Eritrean forces, who do not see a safe exit in the near future.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the fighting began. Tigrayan forces, meanwhile, have also faced accusations of human rights abuses.
"We condemn the killing of civilians, sexual and gender based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees,"
"It is essential that there is an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the crimes reported and that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account," it added.
The statement, which was made by the group's foreign ministers and the High Representative of the EU, also expressed concern over "worsening food insecurity" and called for "immediate, unhindered humanitarian access" to the region.
But it welcomed. He did not specify a date, however, and Eritrea has not confirmed the withdrawal.
Ethiopia urgently needs inclusive national dialogue
And in order to start one, it needs to face its imperial past and legacy.Rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have provided disturbing accounts of atrocities, breath-taking in scale and scope, where Eritrean troops and Amhara militias, fighting alongside the Ethiopian army, massacred civilians, committed horrific acts of sexual violence and “completely erased” whole villages.
There has long been animosity between Tigray and the government in Eritrea, which shares a border with the region.
The presence of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia has proved especially controversial because the two countries fought a bitter border war, which was only officially ended after Mr Abiy became prime minister in 2018 -
Thousands of people have fled Eritrea in recent years, largely because of forced conscription which can last for decades.
Last week, UN aid workers reached two refugee camps housing some 22,000 Eritreans in Tigray.
They said the Shimelba and Hitsats camps had been completely destroyed and all humanitarian facilities looted and vandalised.
China warns Australia against sanctions over alleged human rights abuses .
Australia has been warned China will "respond in kind" if Canberra sanctions Beijing over allegations genocide against the ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs. Fronting a bizarre conference, Ambassador Cheng Jingye said China will not "swallow the bitter pill of interfering or meddling in China's internal affairs".Ambassador Cheng was joined by government officials beamed in via Zoom from Xinjian for a two-hour media conference in Canberra, dismissing allegations of human rights abuses as "fake news" and "lies".