WASHINGTON – The United States expressed concern about reports of ethnically motivated atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and called for an end to unlawful detentions based on ethnicity.
“We note with the utmost alarm that thousands of Ethiopians of Tigrayan ethnicity reportedly continue to be detained arbitrarily in life-threatening conditions in western Tigray,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement according to Reuters.
The United States urges the immediate release of such detainees and calls for international monitors to be granted access to all detention facilities, Price said.
Two leading human rights groups Wednesday accused armed forces from Ethiopia’s Amhara region of waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against ethnic Tigrayans during a war that has killed thousands of civilians and displaced more than a million.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a joint report that abuses by Amhara officials and regional special forces and militias during fighting in western Tigray amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also accused Ethiopia’s military of complicity in those acts.
“We are deeply troubled by the report’s finding that these acts amount to ethnic cleansing,” Price said in a statement.
“It remains our firm position that there must be credible investigations into and accountability for atrocities committed by any party to the conflict as part of any lasting solution to the crisis,” Price said.
The United States urged Ethiopia to cooperate with the UN Commission of Experts on Human Rights in Ethiopia.