Eritrea: Amnesty - Eritrea's Tigray 'Massacre' Might Be Crime Against Humanity

26 February 2021

After conducting research with residents and witnesses from the town of Axum, which lies in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, Amnesty is in little doubt that mass killings were carried out by Eritrean forces.

Human rights organization Amnesty International said on Friday that "hundreds" of people were massacred by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region last November.

Amnesty's Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, who conducted numerous interviews with residents and witness from the historical town of Axum, where the alleged massacre took place, told DW: "The perpetrators were Eritreans."

"We interviewed 41 residents and witnesses from Axum over two research missions," he continued. "So we're pretty confident in our findings. We also used satellite imagery that allowed us to corroborate the burial sites."

In addition, Gallopin said there had been "indiscriminate shelling on the city and looting by Eritrean forces."

US, Kenya discuss 'human rights crises'

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden called Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to talk over the crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

Biden and Kenyatta "discussed the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crises in Ethiopia's Tigray region and the need to prevent further loss of life and ensure humanitarian access," the White House said in a statement.

Last month, the US called on Eritrean troops to withdraw from Tigray. However, both the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments have denied that Eritrean forces are in the region, which lies along Ethiopia's border with Eritrea.

Thousands of people have been killed since Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military operations against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in early November.

Abiy ordered the offensive move after an alleged attack on a federal army camp by TPLF fighters. In late November, Abiy declared victory after government forces captured the regional capital of Mekele. But clashes continue in the region.

Amnesty seeks UN investigation

Amnesty researcher Gallopin is urging the international community to act, particularly as the Ethiopian government continues to block the path of those trying to investigate.

"Amnesty International is calling for a UN-led investigation into the massacre, but also into other grave violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Axum," he told DW.

The UN has said around 2 million people need assistance in and around Tigray and 1 million have been displaced by the fighting. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for "guaranteed unfettered humanitarian access," but entry to the region has been strictly controlled.

More From: DW

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.