Ethiopia: Rights body calls for army deployment following ethnic violence

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Ethiopia’s national human rights commission is calling upon the government to deploy national defence forces in areas recently hit by an uptake in ethnic violence.

Speaking at a press conference in the southern city of Hawasa on Thursday, the commission’s chairman, Addisu Gebregziabher, said the government is failing to protect citizens against the spread of ethnic violence that has displaced almost a million people during the past six months.

Human rights body calls for army deployment

Ethnic violence has dramatically increased since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April, particularly in the south between Oromo and Gedeo ethnic groups. Earlier this month, there was also deadly violence in the Addis Ababa when Oromo youths marched into the capital and, last week, more than 70,000 people – mostly believed to be Oromos – were targeted by various ethnic groups in the western state of Benishangul-Gumuz.

Now, Ethiopia’s national human rights commission is calling upon the government to deploy security forces in the most affected areas, insisting it needs to do more to tackle the spread of violence.

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to deal with the dramatic rise in ethnic clashes. Since coming into power in April, the new PM has introduced a wave of reforms and publicly criticised the country’s security forces for clamping down on peaceful protests under the lead of his predecessors.

His reforms have been widely praised at home and abroad, inspiring fresh hopes that Ethiopia is marching its way into a new era of political freedom. However, this has all been tarnished by a surge in ethnic violence and now Abiy faces calls to increase the presence of security forces and stamp more authority over his rule.

Featured image: ehrc.org

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.