It has been a year since the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was signed in Pretoria to end Ethiopia’s civil war.
- Today marks one year since the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was signed in Pretoria to end the civil war in Ethiopia.
- European embassies stationed in Addis Ababa say there are still pockets of violations that need to be addressed.
- South African, Nigerian, and Kenyan uniformed forces were deployed to Ethiopia to monitor the peace deal.
A year after the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to end the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia was signed in Pretoria, international partners say there is still more to be done.
In a joint statement, the embassies of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom stationed in Ethiopia listed eight areas that needed further attention.
- Disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration national dialogue;
- The withdrawal of Eritrean and non-governmental forces;
- The return of internally displaced people and the full recovery of services;
- Support to victims of conflict-related sexual violence;
- The implementation of a credible transitional justice and accountability process for the victims of atrocities;
- Continued monitoring and verification of compliance with the agreement.
The peace talks to reach a truce between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian government forces working with the Eritrean allied forces started in October last year and stretched into November.
When the agreement was arrived at, it was a major diplomatic victory for silencing the guns, with former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and former deputy president Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa playing leading roles.
However, there are still pockets of human rights violations in parts of Ethiopia, such as Amhara and Oromia where the conflict spilled over from the Tigray region.
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The embassies said the violations needed urgent attention.
“The ongoing violence in Amhara and Oromia, as well as continuous human rights violations in many places, remains disturbing. We continue to stress the need for all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, for a cessation of hostilities as well as an inclusive dialogue,” reads their statement.
The risks and ongoing violations were raised in October at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The UN’s probe into human rights atrocities in Ethiopia was discontinued after the European Union (EU) – from which most of the countries that issued the statement belonged – didn’t call for the extension of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.
While there are issues to iron out, the general feeling is that in a space of a year, a lot has changed since the two-year conflict.
In an interview last year, Obasanjo estimated that there had been more than 600 000 civilian deaths, making it one of the deadliest conflicts on the planet.
In comparison, the United Nations says about 10 000 have died during the war in Ukraine which started in February last year.
African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat acknowledged the role played by the AU in stopping the conflict in Tigray.
“In the spirit of African Solutions to African Problems, the chairperson acknowledges the exemplary role and the contributions of African stakeholders to the Peace Agreement, particularly the AU Peace and Security Council, which endorsed the Peace Agreement on 9 November 2022,” reads a statement from his office.
Mahamat said the return of civilian life and provision of basic services in the Tigray region was commendable.
“The chairperson applauds the notable milestones being recorded in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and its Nairobi Roadmap. In this regard, the chairperson highlights the handover of heavy and medium weapons, the restoration of basic services, the resumption of schools and commercial activities in the Tigray region, the establishment of an Interim Regional Administration, and the Working Group on Transitional Justice as well as the National Commission for Reintegration. These vital actions powerfully demonstrate the commitment of the Signatory Parties to chart a path for sustainable peace and security in Ethiopia,” reads his statement.
The AU is still very much involved in the peace process, with the Team of African Experts serving under the AU Monitoring, Verification, and Compliance Mission (MVCM) in the Tigray region currently in Ethiopia.
Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa deployed forces to Ethiopia to monitor the Peace Agreement.
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