Ethiopia: British government criticises ethnic profiling of Tigrayans

“The UK is also concerned by reports that people of Tigrayan ethnicity are being discriminated against and unfairly targeted. We have raised this with the Government of Ethiopia and will continue to do so.”

James Duddridge MP

Minister for Africa

King Charles Street

London

SW1A 2AH

Tel: 0207 008 5000

Email: FCDO.correspondence@fcdo.gov.uk

 

The Lord Alton of Liverpool

House of Lords

London

SW1A 0PW

www.gov.uk/fcdo

Our ref: MC2020/25149

18 January 2021

Thank you for your correspondence of 30 November to the Lord Tariq Ahmad of

Wimbledon, about the current situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. I am replying

as the Minister for Africa.

We are concerned about the continuing violence in Tigray region and are deeply

worried about the risks the conflict poses to civilian lives. We are pressing all parties

involved to secure immediate humanitarian access and ensure the restoration of basic

services.

We welcome the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) being allowed swift

access to Mai Kadra. This should set precedent for EHRC activity going forward, to

investigate allegations of abuses and violations by all parties. The EHRC must remain

independent, and be properly resourced. Other organisations will also have capacity

and should be encouraged where appropriate.

The Government of Ethiopia indicated on 8 December that it would conduct the initial

investigation into the reported killing of civilians on 9 November in Mai Kadra. Since 8

December, we have spoken with representatives of the Government of Ethiopia about

the nature of that investigation and to make clear that HMG supports the call by the

Ethiopian Commission for Human Rights for the independent investigation of human

rights abuses and violations. We are aware of reports of human rights abuses, including

those recorded by Amnesty International in Mai Kadra on 9 November. We are

concerned by the EHRC preliminary report that up to 600 civilians may have been killed

in this incident. We fully support their investigation and await their full report.

We are gravely concerned over allegations of atrocities and violations; we call for

transparency and accountability to be delivered for such incidents. We have repeatedly

called for civilians to be protected, including in conversations with both parties to the

conflict. The UK’s longstanding position is that determining whether a situation amounts

to genocide is an issue for competent national and international courts, not

governments: our focus is on seeing an end to violence and political dialogue. We will

continue to track the situation and to raise with the Government of Ethiopia and regional

leaders these concerns, our concerns about civilian deaths and casualties, and the

importance of respect for human rights.

The UK is also concerned by reports that people of Tigrayan ethnicity are being

discriminated against and unfairly targeted. We have raised this with the Government of

Ethiopia and will continue to do so. Leaders on both sides must be clear ethnic-based

violence and discrimination will not be tolerated, and must stress to all state actors the

importance of respecting human rights and avoiding civilian loss of life at all costs.

There must also be accountability for human rights abuses. The UK supports the calls

for independent investigations of allegations. In my statement of 17 December I called

for the independent investigation of alleged violations of human rights.

James Duddridge MP

Minister for Africa

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