Legal Correspondent: Reeti Shetty
August 10, 2021: The crisis in Tigray, which has been underway since November 2020, has recently intensified, with accusations of military forces raping and kidnapping young women and children. On November 4, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military operation against regional forces in Tigray, which sparked the conflict. He claimed he did so in retaliation for an attack on a military base in the area that housed government forces. After months of political wrangling between the government and leaders of Tigray's ruling party, the conflict erupted, resulting in a new humanitarian crisis. Women allegedly subjected to sexual abuse, mutilation, and sexual enslavement by troops affiliated with the Ethiopian government, among other forms of torture.
Due to government restrictions on many channels of communication, there has been a lack of clarity on official data of such abuses since the beginning of the crisis. However, there have been reports of around 1,288 incidences of gender-based violence reported between February and April of this year. These acts amount to human rights violations and violate Articles 3, 4, 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which specify the right to life, freedom from slavery, and freedom from torture, respectively.
Due to a lack of available resources, survivors and witnesses to such violations are unable to receive the necessary medical treatment and assistance. The majority of them have been displaced from their homes and are currently awaiting assistance in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Sudan. There is an urgent need for restriction relief to allow aid from other countries to reach the people.
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