A group of 60 civil and human rights organizations Tuesday urged the United Nations to oppose Ethiopia’s request to end the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE), the body tasked with investigating human rights abuses in the Ethiopia-Tigray conflict. The organizations, led by Human Rights Watch (HRW), cited Ethiopians’ lack of faith in official institutions as an incentive to keep ICHREE as the country grapples with the conflict.According to HRW:Ethiopia’s attempts to terminate ICHREE’s mandate during its term are unprecedented. Not only does it suggest that states can politically maneuver to overturn the decisions of the Human Rights Council to avoid independent scrutiny and accountability, but it could also set a dangerous precedent regarding international scrutiny and impunity for rights abuses elsewhere.The main goal of ICHREE is to guarantee that those who have been victims of serious international crimes can receive expedited justice. The United Nations Human Rights Council established ICHREE on December 17, 2021 and gave it the responsibility to investigate and record human rights breaches in order to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. The council also extended the mandate of ICHREE for another year in October 2022. In March 2023, ICHREE is expected to deliver an oral report to the UN concerning its work.The call to reject Ethiopia’s draft resolution came after Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen’s February 15, 2023 announcement that Ethiopia would present a resolution calling for the dissolution of ICHREE. Ethiopia had opposed ICHREE from the beginning, introducing a number of resolutions at the UN General Assembly to block funding for the group.One organization investigating the conflict, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Commission of Investigation on Tigray, refused to work alongside the national Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, prompting the Ethiopian government to call for the commission to “stop” operations in 2021.Along with a coalition of international human rights organizations, the Addis Standard also released an editorial on February 28, 2023, urging the international community to categorically reject Ethiopia’s draft resolution to disband ICHREE. The paper hopes that ICHREE can ensure that citizens harmed by the Tigray violence, which has expanded to the Amhara and Afar regions, receive the justice they deserve.

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