The United Nations has called for an end to the ongoing violence in the Tigray region.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Hon.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Special Representative said, “I am deeply concerned about the alleged rape of a large number of people in Mekele and the allegations of sexual harassment in the Tigray region in general.”
“People are being forced to rape their own families and there are alarming reports that they will be harmed if they do not do so,” he said.
The BBC called the authorities to inquire about the matter, but could not be reached for comment.
The team’s special representative, Pramlia Patten; Some women were reportedly forced to have sex with soldiers in order to earn a living.
Citing medical institutions, Pramlin said: More and more people are buying contraceptives and getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
“This is an indication of sexual violence during the conflict,” he said.
According to the statement, reports of rape in refugee camps are on the rise.
He said the security situation in Tigray State is worrying, with no access to various parts of the state, especially the situation of people in refugee camps.
“Humanitarian aid workers and independent activists should be allowed to explore the entire region immediately,” he said.
He noted that IDPs and refugees in the region also reported sexual abuse. They called for immediate medical and psychological support and protection.
He added that people displaced by the conflict should be protected from sexual assault in camps.
He said more than 5,000 Eritrean refugees were lying on the floor in the Shire area, without food or water. He also mentioned the situation of some 59,000 Ethiopians in neighboring Sudan.
He lamented the inadequacy of humanitarian assistance and the lack of adequate medical equipment.
He explained that access to antiretroviral drugs, psychotherapy, and other sexually transmitted diseases were not available to victims of sexual assault.
“I urge all parties to take action against those responsible for sexual violence in accordance with international and international law,” he said.
He said the government should protect innocent citizens from sexual assault and other harm.
Pramlia Paten, the group’s special representative, called on the government to protect innocent people, regardless of nationality, to allow an independent investigation into sexual violence and to hold perpetrators accountable.