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Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Sous-comité des droits internationaux de la personne du Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du développement international

For immediate release


Current Situation in Tigray

Ottawa, June 27, 2022 -

On June 21, 2022, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development held a meeting on the human rights situation in Tigray, a region in the northern part of Ethiopia bordering Eritrea. Due to technical issues, some witnesses were unable to appear before the Subcommittee to share their testimony. The Subcommittee is committed to further investigating this issue and looks forward to hearing from other witnesses regarding the evolving situation of human rights in Tigray.

The Subcommittee was deeply troubled by what it heard. Civilians, especially women and children, are disproportionally affected by the atrocities being committed by all parties to the conflict. Not only are they suffering from the significant collateral damage generated by the fighting, but they have also been deliberately targeted by brutal acts of violence that, in some instances, amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Since the start of the conflict in November 2020, thousands of people have lost their lives or been injured by indiscriminate military attacks and extrajudicial killings, hundreds of women have been subjected to brutal and systemic sexual violence, thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained and arrested, and millions of people have been forcibly displaced.

The Subcommittee was disturbed to hear from witnesses that the intent behind some of the targeted acts of violence committed by Amhara officials and security forces was to force Tigrayans from their homes, prompting some to describe it as a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The humanitarian situation in Tigray prior to the outbreak of hostilities was already dire and has been significantly exacerbated by the destruction of critical infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, the pillaging of crops and livestock and looting of factories and businesses. Moreover, the Subcommittee heard that there are concerns that the “humanitarian truce” declared by the government of Ethiopia on 24 March 2022 is not being observed, and is conscious of the fact that a great deal of work will be required to heal the scars that will likely divide the country for years to come. During these tense moments, the Subcommittee urges restraint from all parties. Protecting civilians must be prioritized above military victories if justice and peace are to be truly realized in Ethiopia.

For more information, please contact:
Erica Pereira, Clerk of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Tel: 613-996-1540