In a statement issued on Saturday Amnesty International said the security forces had used “attacks by armed groups and to contain inter-communal violenc” as an excuse to commit such human rights violations.
Amnesty International said it documented how security forces committed the grave human rights violations between December 2018 and December 2019 despite reforms which led to the release of thousands of detainees, expansion of the civic and political space and repeal of draconian laws, such as the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which were previously used to repress human rights.
“The Ethiopian authorities have made notable progress in changing the country’s bleak human rights record. However, it is unacceptable that the security forces should be allowed to carry on committing human rights violations with impunity,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“With elections on the horizon, these violations and abuses could escalate out of control unless the government takes urgent measures to ensure security forces act within the law and remain impartial in undertaking their duties.” It said
In 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government lifted a ban on opposition parties, some of which had been designated as terrorist organisations and forced into exile, allowing them to take part in elections initially scheduled for August 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19.
“In trying to mobilize support, politicians have however been stirring up ethnic and religious animosities, sparking inter-communal violence and armed attacks in five of the country’s nine regional statesof the country” the report noted.
“Amnesty International’s report reveals that the Liyu police, local administration militia and two Amhara youth vigilante groups joined forces to attack members of the Qimant community in January 2019, and again in September-October 2019, leaving at least 100 people dead and hundreds displaced. Qimant homes and property were also destroyed.” It added.