The Human Rights Council must establish a mechanism on Ethiopia

UN Human Rights Council – 33rd Special Session on Ethiopia
December 2021
Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

Thank you, Madame President.

We welcome the convening of this long overdue Special Session on Ethiopia. 

The High Commissioner’s update to the Council in November highlighted the need for transparent investigations and accountability for what has been unfolding in the country over the past year. The conflict and the human suffering have both escalated since then. 

Restrictions imposed have left humanitarian groups unable to carry out their work amidst increased humanitarian needs, food insecurity, and disruption of livelihoods. As a result of this loss in services, millions could be denied the aid they need to stay alive.

Fragile gains made by civil society over the past few years are at great risk. It has become dangerous for national civil society to engage in public advocacy, with pressure imposed and threats perpetrated by both State and non-State actors, compounded by a sweeping state of emergency. The online space for dissent is radically shrinking. Numerous journalists have been detained, with at least nine still in custody at the beginning of this month. 

The conflict itself has spread to neighbouring regions and threatens millions of civilians.

There is a clear absence of any transparent and credible national accountability process for violations and abuses committed. Following calls from the High Commissioner and civil society, the Council must act on its prevention mandate, which was established to avert atrocity and crimes against humanity. It can do so by adopting a resolution that establishes an independent investigative mechanism mandated to investigate, report on, and to collect and preserve evidence of alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

We thank you.