G7 countries slam killings in Ethiopia's Tigray region
'G7 members stand ready to support humanitarian efforts, investigations into human rights abuses,' says joint statement
Foreign ministers of the G7 countries and the EU Friday condemned “the killing of civilians” in Ethiopia’s restive Tigray region.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US ministers, along with the high representative of the EU, in a joint statement, voiced strong concern “about the recent reports on human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law in Tigray.”
“We condemn the killing of civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees,” the statement added.
“All parties must exercise utmost restraint, ensure the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law.
“We recognize recent commitments made by the government of Ethiopia to hold accountable those responsible for such abuses and look forward to seeing these commitments implemented.”
Noting the agreement between the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a joint investigation into the human rights abuses committed by all parties in the region, the statement said: “It is essential that there is an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the crimes reported and that those responsible for these human rights abuses are held to account.”
The G7 countries also urged the “parties to the conflict to provide immediate, unhindered humanitarian access.”
“We are concerned about worsening food insecurity, with emergency conditions prevailing across extensive areas of central and eastern Tigray.”
The statement welcomed a recent announcement from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that “Eritrean forces will withdraw from Tigray.”
“This process must be swift, unconditional and verifiable,” the statement added.
The group called for “the end of violence and the establishment of a clear inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including those in Tigray and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process.”
“We, the G7 members, stand ready to support humanitarian efforts and investigations into human rights abuses,” the statement added.
Ethiopia ended a security operation in Tigray in November following an armed attack by outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front on Ethiopian troops.
But sporadic fighting continues as hundreds of thousands of people were internally displaced and more than 60,000 fled to neighboring Sudan.
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission in a report alleged that Eritrean troops killed 100 civilians in the historic town of Axum in Tigray.