United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Saturday called on Ethiopian authorities to promptly initiate and conduct transparent investigations into recent inter-religious clashes in Ethiopia.
"I am deeply distressed by the recent violent clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia in which at least 30 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 others injured," an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) statement quoted Bachelet as saying.
Bachelet called on the Ethiopian authorities "to promptly initiate and conduct thorough, independent and transparent investigations into each of these deadly incidents and ensure that those found to be responsible are held to account."
The inter-religious clashes, first reported in Gondar city, in the northern Amhara region, on April 26, reportedly in connection with a land dispute, appear to have quickly spread to towns and cities in many other regions across the country.
"I understand two mosques were burnt and another two partially destroyed in Gondar. In the apparent retaliatory attacks that followed, two Orthodox Christian men were reportedly burnt to death, another man hacked to death, and five churches burnt down in Silt'e zone, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, located in the southwest of the country," Bachelet said.
Police have reportedly arrested and detained at least 578 people in at least four cities in connection with the violent clashes, it was noted.
"Those arrested must be fully accorded their due process and fair trial rights in accordance with international human rights law, without discrimination," Bachelet said.
The OHCHR emphasized that individual accountability of perpetrators is essential to preventing further violence.
To prevent further inter-religious violence, Bachelet said, it is crucial that the underlying causes of this shocking violence are promptly addressed, with the meaningful participation of survivors, families and affected communities.