Manitoba Daily

Monday, November 29, 2021

Ethiopia has detained over 1,000 people, the majority of them are Tigrayans

Key takeaways:

  • A year later, a fight erupted between the federal government and TPLF-aligned forces.
  • The arrests, according to police, are not ethnically motivated and are intended to jail TPLF supporters.
  • The TPLF, which used to be the ruling party in Ethiopia, accuses the federal government of concentrating power. 

On Tuesday, the United Nations stated that at least 1,000 people, predominantly ethnic Tigrayans, have been imprisoned in towns across Ethiopia in the last week.

Ethiopia proclaimed a state of emergency on November 2, a year after a battle occurred among the federal government and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party in charge of Tigray’s northern province.

The six-month proclamation authorises suspects to be held without charge for the duration of the state of emergency, as well as house-to-house searches without a warrant.

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“At least 1,000 people are estimated to have been held in the last week or two,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. “Some accounts put the total substantially higher.”

“These improvements are all the more concerning given that the majority of those jailed are said to be Tigrayans.”

According to UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres underlined “his worry over allegations of arbitrary arrests and detentions, which tend to increase divides and anger across groups.”

Legesse Tulu, the Ethiopian government’s spokesperson, did not respond to a request for comment. The arrests, according to police, are not ethnically motivated and are intended to jail TPLF supporters.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Tigrayans, detained in Ethiopia in week

According to the UN, the circumstances at detention centres were poor and overcrowded, and many people were not informed why they were being held.

According to the agency, following the arrest of 16 UN employees last week, ten more were still being held. Out of the 72 contractors arrested last week, 34 remain in custody.

On Thursday, the government declared that Ethiopian officials working for the United Nations or the African Union do not exist “in space”. It will be punished if they disobey the law, following the detention of numerous UN employees for undisclosed offences.

According to the statement, Guterres demanded the immediate release of imprisoned UN personnel members. It stated that UN workers had been detained without charge and that no specific information about the arrests had been offered.

The TPLF, which used to be the ruling party in Ethiopia, accuses the federal government of concentrating power. The government accuses the TPLF of attempting to reclaim its former power. According to the UN, both are accused of infractions that may amount to war crimes.

Source: CBC News

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