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UN rights council votes for international investigation into Ethiopia abuses

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted on Friday to establish an independent investigation into abuses in the Ethiopian conflict, after a senior U.N. official said there had been violations on all sides and mass arrests under a government crackdown.

Ethiopia said it was “extremely disappointed” by the move and vowed not to cooperate, describing the mechanism as “politically motivated”.

The resolution, brought by the European Union and backed by Western states, passed despite objections from Ethiopia, which dismissed accusations of abuses and said it had already cooperated in investigations into the year-old war.

“A number of these violations may amount to crimes against humanity, and urgently require further investigations by independent experts,” the EU delegation to the U.N. in Geneva said in a statement welcoming the decision.

The resolution establishes a three-member panel of experts for one year to collect evidence and identify those responsible for violations with a view to future prosecutions.

“Ethiopia would like to reiterate that it will not cooperate with the established mechanism imposed upon it against its consent,” the government said in a statement.

“No more to double standards; no more to unilateral coercive measures; and no more to meddling in internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.”

Earlier, Ethiopia’s envoy to the U.N. in Geneva Zenebe Kebede denounced what he said was a series of abuses by rebellious forces from the northern Tigray region.

Thousands of civilians have died and millions have fled in the conflict between the federal government and rebellious forces including fighters loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for nearly 30 years.

There was no immediate comment from the TPLF on Friday. In the past, it has said some individual soldiers or militias may have committed abuses that should be investigated but that regular Tigrayan forces are well disciplined.

By: REUTERS

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