Ethiopia: ECLJ Wrote to UN-SA Genocide
As we reported recently here, the Amhara people, who are primarily an Orthodox Christian community in Ethiopia, have been subjected to violent and systematic persecution for decades. As the situation worsened and a state of emergency was declared, the ECLJ wrote to the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to initiate a fact-finding mission.
Illustration: Mrs Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Account X-Twitter @UNOSAPG
Three weeks ago, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) submitted a written statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) to highlight the alarming human rights violations committed against the Amhara people. The main persecutors are the Omoro and Tigrayans (Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the Oromo Liberation Army, and the Prosperity Party) and the main cause for such a persecution lies in the fact that the Ethiopian governance structures have been dominated by the Amhara. The Amhara’s historical association with the Ethiopian monarchy and the Orthodox Christian Church has often been perceived as a form of cultural and political hegemony over other ethnic groups, especially the Oromos and Tigrayans.
The grievances between the Oromo, Tigray, and Amhara ethnic groups have manifested themselves in deeply troubling ways, escalating to violence, ethnic cleansings, and mass atrocities. The situation has reached a critical level since an ethnically Oromo Prime Minister came to power in 2018.
In May 2023 alone, the government had reportedly detained over 4,500 ethic Amhara individuals. This number surged following the declaration of the state of emergency by the government on August 4, 2023, with claims suggesting that around 14,000 Amhara individuals have since been apprehended.
That is why the ECLJ sent an urgent letter to the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu. Reports reaching us indicate a series of severe human rights violations committed against the Amhara people, including ethnic violences and genocidal tendencies.
As we stated, the situation definitely requests her attention:
The incident reports are profoundly disturbing. The nature of these acts covers a wide range of atrocities, from the disemboweling of pregnant women to the cannibalistic consumption of those killed. Such acts go beyond mere expressions of discontent or political dissent; they indicate a deeply rooted hatred that has been manipulated and mobilized to justify heinous crimes. This level of animus is fueled by a combination of historical grievances, political manipulation, social conditioning, and widespread hate speech which together create a toxic environment ripe for the perpetration of mass violence.
We also emphasized the identified perpetrators that were described to us by multiple reports and stressed the ethnic and religious motivations of the atrocities perpetrated against the Amhara people:
These attacks target the Amhara community and the orthodox Christians with whom they are associated. The perpetrators appear to be the Qeerroo (translating literally to Youth in Oromo language), the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), Gumuz militiamen, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and the currently leading Prosperity Party. The targeted and systematic nature of these attacks against the Amhara and Orthodox Christians reveals an intent to not just intimidate but to eliminate, either physically or culturally, a specific community. This is a hallmark of ethnic cleansing and possibly even genocide, both of which are crimes against humanity under international law.
That is why we draw the attention of the Special Adviser and asked for fact-finding mission to establish the truth about the reported atrocities against the Amhara and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia, starting from September 13, 2018. We also asked her to warn the Secretary-General and the Security Council about the escalation of violences in Ethiopia. The perpetration of a genocide against the Amhara could or is becoming a reality.
We encourage you to sign our petition and to follow us on Twitter (X), as the ECLJ will deliver an oral statement during an Interactive Dialogue with the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia on September 21, 2023. This official debate will take place during the 54th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.