It is now five months since the start of the war on Tigray which, from the start, has had all the hallmarks of genocide. Even so, however, and despite the involvement of foreign countries, and undeniable evidence of ethnic cleansing, more than 88 massacres, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and mass starvation, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, is yet to issue any serious statement.
This is not to mention the Secretary-General’s close relationships with the architects of the Tigray genocide.
Although late, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has shown interest to investigate human rights violations in Tigray. To the dismay of Tigrayans, however, the investigation is to be done jointly with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a federal entity funded and accountable to the very government that is one the parties implicated in all of the atrocities committed in Tigray. This decision was made in spite of calls for an independent investigation from Tigrayans and others, and warnings about the danger of involving EHRC in the investigation.
Tigray’s elected government, opposition parties, civil societies, religious communities and writers, and social media activists have been calling for independent investigations not involving any Ethiopian entities.
When there was talk of the AU getting involved in investigations of human rights violations in Tigray, different sections of Tigrayan society opposed that, citing the AU’s previous positions on the war on Tigray. Political parties, writers, and social media activists all wrote opposing that.
Disappointingly and sadly, the UNHCR announced that it has agreed to a joint investigation with EHRC, ignoring all the concerns, calls, and warnings and dashing Tigrayan hopes for independent investigation and justice. Amid their sadness and dismay, following the announcement, Tigrayans wrote letters to the High Commissioner for Human Rights warning her of the dangers of involving EHRC in the investigations of crimes in Tigray. Political parties, civil societies [1, 2] writers [1, 2], and social media activists opposed the move in unison.
Despite all of that, and in a manner that seems to say ‘you, the Tigrayan victims, don’t matter’, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights went ahead with her decision to involve EHRC. Tigrayans feel doubly hurt is an understatement. They feel, and rightly so, the crimes will be whitewashed, distorted, covered, and maybe even be attributed to the victims. They wonder, if the investigations of crimes are not meant to address the concerns and cries of the affected community, what are they meant for?