By failing to extend the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) despite its warnings of an “acute risk of further atrocities”, member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) have extinguished the only credible avenue for independent international investigations and oversight on Ethiopia – a key source of hope for victims and survivors seeking justice and accountability.
Member states of the HRC looked away from Ethiopia’s ongoing 2 human rights crisis as the deadline for formal tabling of resolutions at the ongoing 54th session of the HRC elapsed on 4 October 2023. Without a resolution to extend its mandate ICHREE will have to end its work.
On 3 October 2023, ICHREE issued a detailed analysis laying down evidence and trends indicating an “acute risk of further atrocity crimes in Ethiopia.” 3 The commission also presented its report to the HRC on 18 September 2023, detailing how conflict-related abuses are no longer limited to the Tigray region and that they have escalated to a “national scale.”
ICHREE’s report also emphasized that the Government of Ethiopia has failed to effectively investigate violations and that it had initiated a flawed transitional justice consultation process.
The grave human rights crisis in Ethiopia has already affected millions and poses further serious threats to people throughout the country. ICHREE asserted that the risk might extend “to the State as well as regional stability and the enjoyment of human rights in East Africa”6. The decision to not continue UN investigations into ongoing rights abuses, amid a sweeping national state of emergency and warnings by the ICHREE is a gross betrayal of victims and survivors.
UN member states ignored pleas by victims, survivors and civil society to extend ICHREE, in the absence of credible alternatives at the national or regional levels. On 13 June 2023 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights prematurely terminated the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into the situation in the Tigray Region of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia (CoI). The CoI never issued a report or a statement about its investigations in Ethiopia. At the domestic level Ethiopia does not have adequate legal frameworks or credible accountability processes to address severe human rights violations and crimes under international law.
In December 2021, the European Union (EU) led the initiative to establish ICHREE at the HRC and continued to lead subsequent initiatives on ICHREE. The ICHREE has a key role to play in international oversight, early warning and prevention within the UN system. The EU’s decision to ignore the UN’s warnings and abandon the only independent, credible international investigative mechanism on Ethiopia, is shameful.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.