(Al Jazeera) – Prime Minister’s spokesperson says accusations of illegal detentions by the government were ‘misguided’.
Ethiopia has accused the United States of “perpetuating a destructive narrative” after Washington and its allies sounded the alarm over reports that the authorities were unlawfully detaining citizens on ethnic grounds.
The US and other Western nations released a joint statement on Monday saying they were “profoundly concerned by recent reports of the Ethiopian government’s detention of large numbers of Ethiopian citizens on the basis of their ethnicity and without charge”, and urging a halt to all such arrests.
“Individuals are being arrested and detained without charges or a court hearing and are reportedly being held in inhumane conditions. Many of these acts likely constitute violations of international law and must cease immediately,” the countries said.
Ethiopia’s government declared a nationwide state of emergency in early November after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group claimed major advances on a key highway to the capital Addis Ababa.
Troubling reports have emerged since then, with Ethiopia’s state-affiliated human rights watchdog estimating that thousands of people have been rounded up.
Lawyers and rights groups have said the detentions appear largely to target Tigrayans based on their ethnicity alone.