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UN Human rights chief regrets deteriorating situation in Ethiopia

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech during an urgent debate on the Ukraine conflict at the UN Human Right Council in Geneva.   -  
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**As the 49th regular session of the Human Rights Council continued on Monday, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said she was concerned about the continuation of "serious and large-scale violations" of human rights in Ethiopia.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council gathered on Monday. As the 49th regular session continued, the U.N human rights chief Michelle Bachelet updated the council on the situation in Ethiopia.

In the war torn Tigray region, the UN high commissioner for human rights said the context had deteriorated in the past few months.

"I am alarmed by the growing humanitarian crisis. Hostilities and insecurity continue to block the delivery of humanitarian supplies into Tigray by the Semera-Abala-Mekelle road, which has not been accessible since 15 December last year", Michelle Bachelet said.

Since the conflict broke out in 2020, it inexorably expanded in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara region. The Office of the UN commissioner received reports of "wide-scale human rights violations". Among them reports of 306 rape incidents by Tigrayan forces in the Amhara region between 1 November and 5 December 2021; 304 people were allegedly killed and 373 injured in air strikes apparently carried out by the Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF)" in Tigray, and eyewitnesses observed severe damage to schools and health facilities in Amhara and Afar regions.

Michelle Bachelet spoke of some 300,000 people reportedly displaced between 23 and 26 January 2022 due to attacks by Tigrayan forces, including long-range shelling in Afar.

If the Ethiopian parliament lifted wartime state of emergency last month, efforts continue in order to reach a ceasefire.

In the meantime, an estimated four out of every five people in the Tigray region were food insecure, while half of pregnant and breastfeeding women were malnourished, according to the World Food Program.

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