Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Ethiopia: Crimes Against Humanity in Western Tigray Zone

Immediate humanitarian access, protection of communities key

  • Tigrayans in the disputed Western Tigray Zone of Ethiopia have experienced a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing by security forces from the neighbouring Amhara region and their allies.
  • The campaign of killings, rape, mass detentions, and forcible transfers amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • The Ethiopian government needs to call on security forces and militia to end these atrocities, allow humanitarian agencies access, including to detention facilities, and support credible justice efforts to ensure those responsible for grave crimes are held accountable.

Amhara regional security forces and civilian authorities in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone have committed widespread abuses against Tigrayans since November 2020 that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today (6 April). Ethiopian authorities have severely restricted access and independent scrutiny of the region, keeping the campaign of ethnic cleansing largely hidden.

The report, ‘We Will Erase You From This Land’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone, documents how newly-appointed officials in Western Tigray and security forces from the neighbouring Amhara region, with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces, systematically expelled several hundred thousand Tigrayan civilians from their homes using threats, unlawful killings, sexual violence, mass arbitrary detention, pillage, forcible transfer, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. These widespread and systematic attacks against the Tigrayan civilian population amount to crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes.

Since November 2020, Amhara officials and security forces have engaged in a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing to force Tigrayans in Western Tigray from their homes,

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch

“Ethiopian authorities have steadfastly denied the shocking breadth of the crimes that have unfolded and have egregiously failed to address them.”