No parties involved in the mandate sought an extension before the deadline, according to UN Human Rights Council spokesperson Pascal Sim. The International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia’s mandate, established in 2021 following a motion by the European Union, will officially end after October 13, 2023.
This decision follows the recent release of a report by the commission, which warned of the persistent risk of human rights abuses in Ethiopia and stressed the urgent need for independent investigations into the country’s human rights situation.
The conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region erupted in November 2020, leading to widespread atrocities committed by all sides. While a peace agreement was reached between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in November of the previous year, the commission’s report indicates that atrocities continue in parts of the Tigray region.
Efforts to secure another mandate have faced opposition from African states, according to diplomats cited by Reuters. Last year, the mandate was renewed with a narrow majority.
Human Rights Watch expressed disappointment with the European Union (EU) and its members for retracting their support for investigating human rights in Ethiopia. Tirana Hassan, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, characterized this as a “devastating blow” for the victims of atrocities in Ethiopia.
An EU spokesperson stated that “justice and accountability are clear conditions for the gradual normalization of relations with Ethiopia” and noted that European nations had not reached a consensus on a new mandate resolution.
Ethiopia has consistently opposed the UN-mandated investigation, arguing that its national justice policies provide adequate avenues for inquiry. The UN commission has criticized this approach as “deeply flawed.”
In response to inquiries, Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu stated, “This is the end of (ICHREE’s) history (in) Ethiopia,” and later added, “There is no need to talk about a dead end.”