UN human rights body to hold special session about Ethiopia

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights body said it will hold a special session on Friday to discuss the “grave human rights situation” in Ethiopia and a call to set up an international commission of experts to monitor and report on it.

The Human Rights Council agreed to hold the session following a request by the European Union, which said it acted in the wake of a joint report by the U.N. human rights office and Ethiopian Human Rights Commission last month that decried the “terrible toll on civilians” in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and human rights violations and abuses committed by all sides.

The European bloc said Monday that it supports the unity of Ethiopia and said the international community has a “moral obligation” to try to stop further atrocities and ensure accountability and justice for victims.

The announcement came along with a draft resolution that, among other things, calls for the creation of a one-year international Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, whose role would include reporting on rights abuses and violations and advising on ways to bring justice and accountability to victims.

For a special session to take place, the support of one-third of the council’s 47 member states is required.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war that erupted in November last year between Ethiopian forces and the Tigray forces who had long dominated the national government before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.

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