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  • Extrajudicial killings committed in many areas in the Amhara region
  • Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Findings on rights abuse in the Amhara region of Ethiopia confirms that civilians killed while in their residence, during farming activity in the field, and in the road
The Ethiopian Defense Force used to be venerated in the Amhara region of Ethiopia which does not seem to be the case any longer. Residents from the region tend to see the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) as the army of Abiy Ahmed (Photo : SM/FIle)


Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)  on Friday released a statement affirming a wide range of human rights abuse in the Amhara region of Ethiopia including extrajudicial killings.

The state funded commission said it spoke to residents, victims, families of victims and eyewitnesses as part of its investigation of reported rights abuses.

While confirming that armed struggles spread to districts in many areas of the Amhara region, the human cost of civilians is worsening.

Civilians killings :

The commission indicated in its statement that there have been killings (between August 25 and September 5) in Debre Markos, Adet, Merawi, Debre Tabor, Delgi, Majete, Shewa Robit and Antshokia – including surrounding rural kebeles.

It said civilians were killed within the context of the ongoing conflict [between the Ethiopian Defense Force and Fano combatants]. The commission said that it has confirmed from residents and family members that civilians were killed while in their own residence and during farming activity – among other cases.

From the report, residential areas and social service providing organizations were deliberately targeted by artillery shelling.

Extrajudicial killings :

EHRC described the level of extrajudicial killing in the Amhara region as “worrisome.”

The Ethiopian Defense Forces (EDF) have carried out extrajudicial killings in Merto Lemariam, Adet, Jiga, Debre Markos, Merawi, Majete, Shewarobit and Antsokia.

The commission sees the need for further investigation – by EHRC itself and the state of emergency investigation board.

Arbitrary Arrest

It also said that an arbitrary arrest has happened in Amhara and Oromia regions as well as Addis Ababa City. The arrest is outside of what the State of Emergency Command Post announced last week. It said only 764 “suspects’ ‘ are arrested in five locations – many of them in Amhara region.

However, the commission did not disclose the total number of people arrested by authorities with no power to do so.  The number of people killed so far , including through extrajudicial killing, is unspecified.

There were also reports the arrest targeted ethnic Amhara – which EHRC was not explicit about – and that thousands of detainees are held in appalling conditions that many are exposed to contagious disease including Cholera.


While reiterating the need to prioritize all sorts of options to resolve the conflict peacefully, EHRC called on “all parties” to refrain from targeting civilians and social infrastructures. So far there was no report that Fano was involved in illegal activities and it is unclear why EHRC espoused “bothsidesism” –  a customary practice from the U.S. State Department.

It also urged the protection of civilians and not to be a cause for disruption of social and economic activities.

Furthermore, it called for an investigation on those who committed extra-judicial killings and those who indulged in arbitrary detention so that they can be held accountable.

And for those who are arrested outside of the authority of the state of emergency command post for their cases to be treated in the regular justice system.

In addition, it urged measures taken to implement the state of emergency legislation to be in a way to avoid discrimination and excessive use of force and that they be applied based on necessity only.

The Ethiopian government and Amhara regional state made claims recently that normalcy is restored in many of the major towns but EHRC did not remark on it.


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