The U.N. Security Council expressed concern on Thursday about the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, particularly abuse of women and girls, a week after the U.N. aid chief said s.e.xual violence was being used as a weapon of war.
It was the first public statement by the 15-member council, which has been briefed five times privately on the conflict, since fighting between Ethiopia’s federal government troops and Tigray’s former ruling party began in November.
“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,” it said in the statement, drafted by Ireland and agreed by consensus.
The council was unable to agree language last month with Western countries pitted against Russia and China, whose diplomats questioned whether the body – charged with maintaining international peace and security – should be involved. Lowcock said the world body had not seen any proof that soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea have withdrawn, despite demands from U.N. officials and the United States. The Security Council statement made no mention of Eritrean troops.
Eritrea told the Security Council on Friday that it has agreed to start withdrawing its troops from Tigray, acknowledging publicly for the first time its involvement in the conflict.
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