Ethiopia: Commission Expresses Deep Concern, Welcomes Effort to Maintain Peace in Benishangul-Gumuz Region

ADDIS ABABA - The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission expressed deep concern over what it described as "a security events unfolding in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region" while welcoming the effort to maintain peace by the National Defense Force, the Federal Police, and the Regional Security Forces.

It also categorically condemned the attacks, killings and displacement of civilians in the region.

In its public statement dated 17 September 2020 obtained from its Facebook page, the Commission said it has received disturbing reports from the Region's Metekel Zone, Bulen Woreda, Apar Kebele and Wonbera Woreda, Melkan Kebele. "The Regional Government has confirmed that at least two instances of violence occurred on 6 September 2020 and between 7-13 September 2020."

An official source on the ground has informed the Commission that there have been at least two rounds of killings of civilians, and hundreds of civilians have also been displaced, it indicated.

The Regional Government has further indicated that about 300 of the displaced persons have now returned to their homes, and that the National Defense Force and the Federal Police are working to stabilize the area in collaboration with the Regional Security Forces.

Given the patters of such similar killings in the past, the Commission urges regional authorities to carry out impartial, prompt and effective investigations into the circumstances that led to the killings, and hold perpetrators accountable, it added.

The Commission also called on authorities to ensure that victims and their families obtain full redress besides urging authorities to take all the necessary measures to uphold peoples' fundamental human rights particularly the right to life.

It further said would encourage all political groups and stakeholders in the regions to engage in constructive dialogue, and to refrain from any form of incitement and acts of violence.

The Commission also called on the parties to comply with the rights and duties enshrined in the FDRE Constitution and other relevant human rights instrument to which Ethiopia is a party.

"The Commission will remain actively seized of this matter."

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