Ethiopia: Govt Downplays Amnesty Report on Extrajudicial Killings

(file photo).

Ethiopia has downplayed an Amnesty International report accusing its security forces of executing 39 opposition supporters in the Oromiya region last year.

In the report released last Friday, Amnesty International claimed that Ethiopian security forces had committed "horrendous human rights violations including burning homes to the ground, extrajudicial executions, rape, arbitrary arrests and detentions" in four districts of the Amhara and Oromia regional states.

However, later on Friday, Ethiopia slammed the report as "a one-sided snapshot security analysis that fails to appropriately capture the broader political trajectory and security developments in Ethiopia since the commencement of the reform."

Addis Ababa accused the international rights group of deliberately ignoring "the extensive and successful peace-building efforts in the districts indicated."

"The peace-making efforts were overwhelmingly supported by the communities and were conducted by the consortium of regional and federal actors in collaboration with local religious and traditional leaders as well as civil society," the statement added.

Reacting to the development, officials from the two regional states cited in the report, said the rights failed to include basic information on ground.

"The report contains one-sided story and this makes it lack balance. It therefore needs serious revision," Getachew Balcha the Oromia Regional State Communication Bureau head was quoted as saying by state-affiliated television FBC.

For his part, Gizachew Muluneh, director general of the Amhara states communications affairs said the "flawed report could trigger conflict again between the conflicting Amhara and Qimant people."

However, opposition parties in the region welcomed the Amnesty's report and urged the government to take findings seriously.

"We urge the federal and regional authorities to take the report by Amnesty International seriously, heed the recommendations put forth and promptly reverse the governments deeply troubling record on rights and liberty," the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) said in a joint statement on Friday.

Abiy, who took over in April 2018, embarked on a wide-ranging reforms that led to the release of political detainees, welcoming home exiled armed groups and lifting a ban on Oromo Liberation Front.

Abiy was crowned as 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for mending ties with neighbouring Eritrea ending a 20-year-old stalemate between the two countries.

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