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LAW hosts panel side event to the UN Human Rights Council’s 51st Regular Session, ‘Justice for the Victims of the Conflict in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia’

Accountability & Rule of Law - Tigray and northern Ethiopia - Advocacy

On 23 September 2022, LAW hosted an online panel discussion ‘Justice for the Victims of the Conflict in Northern Ethiopia and Tigray,’ together with co-hosts and New York based law firm Debevoise and Plimpton.

The panel was chaired by Antonia Mulvey, LAW’s Executive Director, who opened the panel and welcomed panellist Melat Tesfaye of the Tigray Youth Network, who spoke to the situation on the ground in Tigray, elucidating that the overwhelming needs of civilians in the region are for an end to the fighting, and access to necessities like food, medicine, education.

Dr Hayelom Kebede of Ayder Comprehensive Specialised Hospital in Mekelle, shared his experience of treating victims of sexual violence in the conflict. He shared sobering reports of the violations being committed against the women in the region of Tigray, and the impact of a lack of access to medical supplies needed to treat victims of sexual violence in the conflict.

Kim Seelinger, Director, Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration, Washington University and Special Adviser on Sexual Violence in Conflict to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor; together with Erin Rosenberg Senior Legal Advisor, Mukwege Foundation, shared for the first time their findings from research on CRSV in the conflict in Tigray. Their report found that Tigrayan women were targeted with particular brutality.

Catherine Amirfar, Co-Chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group and the Public International Law Group, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (D&P), discussed the prospects and importance of accountability in the context. She emphasised that the need for accountability cannot be overestimated, as an important step in seeking justice for the victims.


Finally, Donald Deya, the Director of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), gave insight on the case filed by PALU, D&P and LAW at the African Commission on Human Rights in February 2022. He explained that the filing seeks justice and accountability for the victims of the conflict, as well as acknowledgement by the Ethiopian government of their failure to protect the human rights of their citizens. Additionally, provisional measures have been requested in the filing which include an immediate cession of hostilities and the end of the humanitarian blockade that has prevented food, medicine and critical supplies from reaching the region.

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