Ethiopian Foreign Minister and Acting Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonen on Wednesday slammed the United Nations (UN) and the Africa Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) for establishing probes to deal with alleged northern Ethiopia war abuses.
Addressing the African Union Ministerial Session, Demeke said the UN established International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) and the ACHPR probes are undermining Ethiopia’s own peace and accountability measures.
“The ICHREE was formed while the government had accepted the findings of the joint Ethiopia Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),” Demeke told African ministers.
Demeke complained the establishment of ICHREE in late 2021- and another one-year renewal of its mandate in 2022 came despite Ethiopia establishing the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce to oversee the implementation of the EHRC-OHCHR recommendations.
“The ICHREE produced a flawed and politically motivated report. To our regret the (UN) human rights council extended mandate of this commission for an additional period of one year despite opposition from African members of the council,” the Ethiopian FM said.
Ominously, Demeke warned the ICHREE’s work could undermine the AU lead peace process and the implementation of the Pretoria peace agreement with “inflammatory rhetoric”.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) which control parts of the northernmost Tigray region signed the Pretoria and Nairobi peace agreements in November 2022.
The peace deals include among other things restoration of law and order, withdrawal of foreign and non-Ethiopia army forces, disarmament of Tigrayan combatants, restoration of basic services and unhindered access to humanitarian supplies.
Demeke also slammed the ACHPR for forming a “unilateral inquiry commission” into northern Ethiopia war abuses.
“The commission made this decision irrespective of the government’s invitation for joint investigation with our national institutions,” the Ethiopia FM said criticizing ACHPR.
Demeke similarly warned the ACHPR “not to undermine” the AU led peace process as well as the Pretoria peace agreement and its full implementation.
The ACHPR is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collecting people’s rights throughout the African continent.
ACHPR is also tasked with interpreting the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the charter.
The ACHPR headquarter is based in Banjul, the capital of the west African state of Gambia.