Ethiopia - August 2023
Human rights situation in Amhara deteriorates as heavy fighting breaks out
The human rights situation in Ethiopia’s Amhara region deteriorated in August, as heavy fighting broke out between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and Amhara militias known as Fano. The fighting follows months of tension and sporadic clashes over the federal government’s plans to disband the country’s regional forces. It began in early August when Fano fighters moved into towns and cities across the region, where they attacked police stations and regional administrators. The federal government responded by moving in the ENDF, which reportedly struck urban areas with heavy weaponry. The fighting caused large-scale civilian casualties, disrupted access to basic services and confined residents to their homes. Reports also indicate that the government shut down the internet and used broad powers acquired under a state of emergency declared on 4 August to carry out mass arrests, with journalists and an opposition MP amongst those detained. The UN called for an end to the arrests and the release of those arbitrarily detained.