‘I Don’t Know If They Realized I Was A Person‘ : Rape and Other Sexual Violence in the Conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia

During the conflict that began on 4 November 2020 in Tigray – Ethiopia’s northernmost region – troops fighting in support of the federal government have committed widespread rape against ethnic Tigrayan women and girls. The perpetrators include members of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the Amhara Regional Police Special Forces (ASF), and Fano, an informal Amhara militia group. Given the context, scale, and gravity of the sexual violence committed against women and girls in Tigray, the violations amount to war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.

 

In this report, Amnesty International sets out the overwhelming evidence it has collected showing that Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers and members of allied militia are responsible for a pattern of rape and other forms of sexual violence in Tigray. The organization is calling on the secretary-general of the United Nations to urgently send his Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to the Tigray region — as provided for in UN Security Council resolution 1888.
The sexual violence that Amnesty International has documented has been accompanied by shocking levels of brutality, including beatings, death threats, and ethnic slurs. Some of the victims were held in captivity by the perpetrators for days and weeks, in circumstances constituting sexual slavery; others were raped in front of their children and other family members.

 

The prevalence of rape is hard to estimate, given that sexual violence is generally under-reported due to fear and stigma, and that the Ethiopian government has not granted international non-governmental human rights organizations access to the Tigray region to investigate these crimes. While many, possibly most, survivors of sexual violence have not been able to access medical care during the conflict, health facilities in Tigray registered 1,288 cases of sexual violence from February to April 2021, with doctors indicating that this is higher than in previous years and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, conflict related. Just one of these facilities recorded 376 cases of rape committed from the beginning of the conflict to 9 June 2021. Yet many of the survivors Amnesty International interviewed had not visited any health facilities at all, suggesting that these figures are likely to represent a small fraction of the total number of rapes committed.

 

Reference: 
Amnesty International | 2021
37 pagina's | augustus | London : Amnesty International
https://www.amnesty.nl/content/uploads/2021/08/AFR-25.4569.2021-ENG-EMBARGOED.pdf?x53918
Keywords: 
Africans, Crime, Ethiopia, Females, International Law, Methodology, Pregnancy, Psychosocial impact, Research, Sexual Harassment, Survivors, Violence