Apr 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

UN Security Council expresses "deep concern" over sexual violence allegations in Tigray

Women washing clothes by a river

Internally Displaced People who have fled violence in Western Ethiopia. Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

The UN Security Council voiced its "deep concern" Thursday over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ethiopia's Tigray region, noting reports of sexual violence against women and girls, per a press release.

Why it matters: This is the first time the UNSC has made a public statement regarding the conflict in the Tigray, though the council previously received five briefings on the topic, Reuters reports.

The big picture: The conflict concerns Ethiopia's federal government and leaders in the northern Tigray region, and is part of a broader power struggle in the country, writes Axios' Dave Lawler.

  • The conflict has stretched for several months and the Ethiopian government has received help from troops from neighboring Eritrea.
  • Eritrean forces have been accused of mass killings and crop destruction, according to Human Rights Watch.

The state of play: U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock last week briefed the council on the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, warning of acute food insecurity and reported gang rapes of women and girls, some as young as 8, per Reuters.

What they're saying: "The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including reports of sexual violence against women and girls in the Tigray region and called for investigations to find those responsible and bring them to justice," reads the statement.

Go Deeper: Ethiopia says Eritrean forces have begun withdrawing from Tigray

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