Amnesty International’s Irresponsible Allegations
Elias Dawit 11-13-20
Amnesty International, a global human rights organization, issued a statement saying “We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
Who were their sources? According to that same statement, “The organization has also spoken to witnesses, who were providing food and other supplies to the Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF), who visited the town immediately after the deadly attack, on the morning of 10 November, to find dead bodies strewn all over the town, as well as injured survivors.”
Amnesty International’s sources for this serious allegation spoke to people supplying EDF soldiers with food and other supplies. According to the report, “The Amhara regional government’s media agency AMMA reported there were around 500 victims, adding that they were primarily non-Tigrayan residents of the town. A man who is helping to clear the bodies from the streets told Amnesty International that he had looked at the state-issued identification cards of some victims, and most were Amhara.”
International says it has “confirmed” the massacre of day laborers, “confirmed”
that they were Amhara, but “has not yet been able to confirm who was responsible
for the killings.” However, Amnesty International “has spoken to witnesses who
said forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) were
responsible for the mass killings, apparently after they suffered defeat from
the federal EDF forces.
Does Amnesty International understand the context of this deadly conflict where Ethiopia’s defense Forces are raining bombs on Tigrayan civilians? Where the Ethiopian government has demanded lists of Tigrayan staff from international organizations, including the UN? Where the AU representative has been fired by the Ethiopian government and accused of being “disloyal”? Where Tigrayans are being rounded up throughout Ethiopia and held in undisclosed locations? Where Tigrayan businesses have been forced to close?
There is a chilling casualness in Amnesty’s conclusion that, based on three people and the Amhara regional media, members of the TPLF carried out this atrocity. Did the murderers identify themselves as TPLF members? How did Amnesty International confirm the stories of the three people who identified the casualties as Amhara and the killers as TPLF? How did Amnesty International report this without any kind of real investigation when the stakes are undeniably high?
This kind of irresponsible reporting must be called out by every member of the international community. Someone is accountable for this tragedy and before maligning a people defending itself from the Ethiopian Defense Forces and Eritrean military forces, as well as from the genocidal intentions of the Prime Minister, Amnesty International is obligated to carry out a genuine investigation.
This statement by Amnesty International reeks of disingenuousness and deceit. We expect more from the human rights community than serving as a spokesperson of the Ethiopian Government in its propaganda war intended to dehumanize the TPLF and the people of Tigray.
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