Ethiopia: Amnesty denounces rape as a weapon in Tigray war

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– ROME, AUGUST 11 – In a new report published today, Amnesty International denounced rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in Tigray by forces allied to the government of Ethiopia.

The reports provided by the survivors are chilling: gang rapes inside military bases that lasted for days if not weeks; insertions into the vagina of nails, gravel, metal and plastic objects that have caused irreversible damage in some cases.

To be called into question – the statement reads – are the National Defense Forces of Ethiopia, the Defense Forces of Eritrea, the Special Force of the Amhara Regional Police and an ethnic Ahmara militia called Fano.

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence have been used as weapons of war to inflict physical and psychological harm on women and girls in Tigray,” said Agnés Callamard, Amnesty International secretary general.

“Hundreds of them have been subjected to brutal treatment in order to degrade them and deprive them of their humanity. The gravity and scale of these sexual crimes are appalling, to the point of constituting war crimes and possibly even crimes against humanity. Government of Ethiopia to allow the Investigation Commission of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights to enter Tigray and we urge the Secretary General of the United Nations to send the Team of Experts on Sexual Violence in Conflicts to the region “.

Based on the testimonies of 63 survivors of sexual violence and those of health and humanitarian workers, collected between March and June 2021, Amnesty concluded that the perpetrators’ goal was to terrorize and humiliate the victims and their ethnic group. .