Source: Human Rights Concern Eritrea
16 April 2021
A recent authoritative research study by Ghent University in Belgium has revealed the extent of the massacres of civilians in Tigray since the conflict began in November 2020. The report identifies 151 massacres, in which over 1,900 were killed in cold blood.
The researchers state from eye-witness testimony that Eritrean soldiers were involved in 63% of these massacres. 90% of those killed were identified as male, suggesting a deliberate policy.
This report cannot be dismissed as speculative or unconfirmed. Its informants are too numerous and their testimony too consistent. The compiling of the report involved 2,000 telephone calls and 100 in-depth interviews with eyewitnesses. Its evidence and conclusions confirm earlier eyewitness reports.
The percentage of male victims (90%) suggests a deliberate policy of genocide of ethnic Tigrayan people. Earlier reports of mass rapes of Tigrayan women fit a pattern that has been evident in previous genocidal actions, and are reminiscent of events in Bosnia and Rwanda. This Ghent report effectively confirms that the continued presence of Eritrean military in Tigray imperils the survival of the Tigrayan people.
On 26th March Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that “Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its forces out of Tigray and the Ethiopian border.” However, there is no sign the deployment of the Eritrean military in Tigray is about to end. No confirmation of this decision was ever given by the Eritrean government, raising major doubts that the Eritrean regime ever agreed to withdraw from Tigray.
Round ups of young and underage students continue to occur daily in Eritrea, and is even intensifying. These round-ups of young people under 18 on the streets by military “press gangs” constitute illegal abductions. Human Rights Concern-Eritrea has received evidence that large numbers of young and under-age conscripts are still being taken to military training camps for deployment to Tigray as military reinforcements. Rather than withdrawing, Eritrean military forces in Tigray are being increased.
Even more concerning are reports of Eritrean military personnel taking action to disguise their nationality. Reports are emerging that members of the Eritrean forces have now changed their uniforms and are wearing the Ethiopian National Defence Force uniforms. It is even reported that Eritrean soldiers are now being given Identity cards which show them to be residents of Tigray. Thus, Eritrean soldiers are able to move around posing as civilians, wearing civilian clothes.
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea issues the following urgent warnings: –
- The UN, African Union, and the international community must recognise the alarming truth revealed in this authoritative report from Ghent University, and recognise the horrific slaughter of civilians for which Ethiopian and Eritrean armed forces have been responsible.
- The UN, African Union and international community must now realise that actions akin to genocide have been taking place in Tigray, and that the Eritrean military have been involved in 63% of these massacres and killings, with an identifiable policy of deliberately killing Tigrayan men.
- The UN, African Union, and international community MUST NOW TAKE ACTION to stop any further killings, rapes and crimes against humanity in Tigray.
- It is VITAL that direct action is taken to force the Eritrean regime to comply with the commitment announced by Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to withdraw all Eritrean military personnel from Tigray at once. This may require more pressure on Eritrea.
- An International Peace-Keeping Force should be deployed to Tigray region as soon as possible. The Ethiopian government must now facilitate this.
- It is vital that a fully independent human rights inquiry led by the United Nations commences as soon as possible in Tigray.
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
+44 7958 005 637