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The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Monday issued a statement regarding human rights violations in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

In the statement, it is confirmed that the Ethiopian Defense Force used drone strikes and artillery attacks, resulting in many civilian deaths in the region. Local media outlets in Ethiopia have been reporting on drone strikes and artillery attacks.

Among other drone attacks, the EHRC, established by the Ethiopian government, has confirmed that there were drone strikes in North Shoa (Minjar), Gojjam, and Gondar areas of the Amhara region. In one of the drone attacks, many civilians, including a toddler, were killed.

Drone attacks in Debre Markos and Dembecha also killed many civilians. In other parts of the region, the Defense Force extensively used artillery against residential homes and civilian infrastructures. Again, all these have been reported by local media outlets, and borkena has covered them.

EHRC confirmed the stories by contacting eyewitnesses and residents from affected areas of the region. In areas like North Shoa, as many as 3,000 civilians have been displaced due to shelling and drone strikes.

It also highlighted continued extrajudicial executions by the Ethiopian Defense Forces. Victims are unarmed civilians who were either arrested from house-to-house searches on alleged grounds of supporting Fano, or they were arrested from the streets.

Schools in many parts of the region are turned into makeshift military camps for the Ethiopian government soldiers. It means that schools are closed, and students are out of school. This month, a report by the UN agency indicated that more than seven million children have not returned to school.

Rape in the context of the ongoing war in the region is also confirmed by the EHRC. According to its report, since July this year, at least 200 women were raped by Ethiopian government soldiers. The figures are from hospital sources, indicating the possibility that the number could be much higher, considering that many do not visit health facilities after becoming victims of rape.

Another key confirmation from the report is that civilian properties and crops are deliberately destroyed by government forces. Civilian infrastructures are targeted and destroyed.

EHRC called the rights violations in the Amhara region and confirmed that fighting between Fano forces and the Ethiopian Defense Forces is ongoing in many districts in the Amhara region and all zones. The testimony contrasts with a claim from the government that normalcy is restored in many parts of the Amhara region where the government imposed a six-month-long state of emergency. It also confirmed that the districts at times fall into the hands of Fano forces and at other times to government forces.

Daniel Bekele, the Director, called for a peaceful means of resolving the conflict to be given priority and for civilians and civilian infrastructures not to be targets of attacks under any circumstances.

Ethiopian government authorities have not yet responded to the statement.


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