Two New Reports Detail Suffering of Ethiopian Women in Tigray War

Two new reports by human rights organisations detail the ordeals experienced by civilians in Ethiopia's armed conflict.

An 89-page report by Human Rights Watch says the Ethiopian government's blocking of aid and essential services, at the same time that health facilities in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region have been destroyed, is preventing survivors of sexual violence from obtaining essential post-rape care. The report, released on November 9, 2021, documents the serious health impact, trauma, and stigma experienced by rape survivors aged 6 to 80 since the beginning of the armed conflict in Tigray in November 2020.

Also on November 9, 2021, an Amnesty International report says that 16 women from the town of Nifas Mewcha in the country's Amhara region told the organisation that they were raped by fighters from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) during the group's attack on the town in mid-August 2021. Survivors described being raped at gunpoint, robbed, and subjected to physical and verbal assaults by TPLF fighters, who also destroyed and looted medical facilities in the town.

Amnesty International says the TPLF took control of Nifas Mewcha for nine days between August 12 and 21, 2021, as part of an ongoing offensive into parts of the Amhara and Afar regions. Regional government officials told Amnesty International that more than 70 women reported to authorities that they were raped in Nifas Mewcha during this period.

Associated Press reports that the spokesman for the Tigray forces, Getachew Reda, who has repeatedly denied that the fighters are attacking civilians, did not respond to AP questions about the Amnesty report.

In November 2020, forces of the Tigray People's Liberation Front attacked a federal army base in the region. The attack led to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's order of a military offensive against the rebels, which has left thousands dead.

Documents

InFocus

Mihira Redae, a social worker at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, Ethiopia, helps rape victims to seek treatment for wounds, diseases, and psychological trauma, June 8, 2021.

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