UNSA statement on Ethiopia
On 8 November 2021, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderituissued a statement on the situation on Ethiopia. While warning that the risk of widespread and systematic violence was real, she expressed hope that Ethiopians can find shared interests and common experiences to overcome division.
In her statement, the Special Adviser expressed her concern “at the deterioration of the situation of Ethiopia, where the escalation of violence, increased incidence of ethnically and religiously motivated hate speech, displacement of populations and destruction of property display serious indicators of risk of commission of atrocity crimes.”
She said: “It is essential that all parties take serious and urgent steps to de-escalate the situation and take active measures to mitigate the risk of commission of widespread and systematic violence, including along ethnic lines. This risk is real and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
In the view of the Special Adviser, “further deterioration can have very serious consequences not only for the future of the country but for the overall region, including cross-border conflicts. It is therefore vital that regional actors take any possible initiative to strengthen dialogue and put an end to the armed conflict, including by supporting ongoing regional mediation efforts, and that the international community remains engaged in supporting such efforts and in contributing to open further options for peace. This includes the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) both of which have a key role to play.”
She further stated that “dynamics conducive to legitimizing violence for political and ethnic nationalism purposes precede the current conflict, and the current conflict is likely to build upon this negative legacy. This cycle needs to be broken for sustainable peace to emerge. Through dialogue, Ethiopians can find solutions based on shared needs and interests and build a common sense of belonging through constant interaction and shared experiences. In short, they can see once more that they have more commonalities than differences, as their kinship ties across ethnicities go back centuries.”
Finally, the Special Adviser joins the High Commissioner for Human Rights in urging national and international national actors to take steps for accountability for the serious violations documented in the period covered by report, as well as for the alleged violations committed since. In this direction, she welcomes the establishment of a high level inter-ministerial task force in response to the Joint Investigation and encourages this body to take urgent steps. “Accountability constitutes an essential prerequisite for prevention and must be prioritized as such.”