Commission has been following the developments in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with concern. On 4 November 2020 the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia launched a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), this was followed by attacks on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces by the TPLF on the same day.

Following reports and information received regarding alleged human rights violations in the Tigray region, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the ACHPR), issued a Press Statement on 26 November 2020, condemning the attack, and reminding the parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The said Press Statement also urged parties to engage in dialogue with a view to finding lasting, peaceful and mutually acceptable solutions in the best interests of the population.

Noting that the situation continued to unfold without any signs of abating, during its 67th Ordinary Session held virtually, the ACHPR adopted a Resolution: ACHPR/Res.469 (LXVII) 2020 on the Situation in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, condemning the use of force, and calling on the Government of Ethiopia to take actions to protect the human rights of the populations affected and to take concrete steps to end the conflict.

On 9 March 2021, following a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) held, in which the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, His Excellency Mr. Abiy Ahmed expressed its willingness to engage the ACHPR to conduct investigations into the ongoing crisis in the Tigray Region, jointly with its Ethiopian National Human Rights Institution, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat (Chairperson) invited the ACHPR to exercise its mandate to initiate an investigation.

During its 32nd Extra-Ordinary Session, held virtually on 12 May 2021, the ACHPR adopted a Resolution on the Fact-Finding Mission to the Tigray Region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, (see Website), and decided pursuant to Article 45(2) read together with Article 46 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African Charter), to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the situation in the Tigray Region.