The Ethiopian government is indeed fully cognizant of its obligations under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, to which Ethiopia is a party. That is why it undertook the law enforcement operations in the Tigray region with utmost precaution to avoid as much as possible collateral damage on civilians and civilian institutions.
The Ethiopian government also takes any allegations of human rights abuses and crimes extremely seriously. That is why it acted swiftly to undertake the necessary investigation to verify those allegations and bring perpetrators to justice. It is in this context that a team composed of representatives from the Federal Attorney General and the Federal Police Commission has been deployed in the Tigray Region to carry out this investigative work. In addition, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has been investigating and reporting on human rights issues, including the Mai Kadra massacre, civilian casualties, sexual violence, and allegations of discriminatory treatment.
The outcome of these investigations will enable the government to bring the perpetrators to justice and comprehensively address alleged human rights violations and crimes that have occurred in the Tigray region. The EHRC has already publicized some of its preliminary findings and recommendations from its independent investigations. Furthermore, the Ethiopian government has demonstrated its readiness to engage positively and constructively with all the relevant regional and international stakeholders in responding to the serious allegations of human rights abuses and crimes. In this regard, it has already expressed its willingness to collaborate with international human rights experts and, if need be, conduct joint investigations with the relevant bodies.
It is in this spirit that the government has been engaging with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). And now, it has proposed to cooperate and engage with the relevant African Union mechanisms, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) in the investigation of alleged human rights violations in the Tigray region. Discussions are currently underway to look at the modalities for implementing this commitment.
However, the allegations, in fact, outright accusations of ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans by US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken during his testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on 10 March 2021, is a completely unfounded and spurious verdict against the Ethiopian government. Nothing during or after the end of the main law enforcement operation in Tigray can be identified or defined by any standards as a targeted, intentional ethnic cleansing against anyone in the region. That is why the Ethiopian government vehemently opposes such accusations.
Overblowing things out of proportion while the Ethiopian government has made its position unequivocally clear on the need for thorough investigation in collaboration with regional and international partners does not serve the purpose of justice other than unnecessarily politicizing the issue. This notwithstanding, the Ethiopian government attaches particular importance to its longstanding and strategic relations with the United States. It is committed to work closely with the current US administration in further strengthening and boosting this important bilateral relationship over the coming years. The Ethiopian government is certainly appreciative of the support by the US to the ongoing reform agenda and it always stands ready to continue holding frank exchange of views on bilateral and regional issues of common interests and concerns.