Overarching commitment to end women’s sufferings


The war that was incited by the terrorist TPLF enterprise and expanded into the neighboring areas of the Amhara and Afar state has caused wide ranging humanitarian and material crisis.

The rebel forces, at the time they had sized some areas of the two states committed grave abuses. They massacred thousands of people; forced millions of people to flee their homes, tortured noncombatant children’s and elder people who were helpless to defend themselves, raped little girls and women embarrassingly.

The insurgents also vandalized and looted private and public properties. Civilians’ houses and possessions, education and health facilities, religious institutions, holy books and valuable sanctified objects, which should enjoy special protection during war, were indiscriminately attacked, burned, looted, and destroyed deliberately.

Not only that, even while the rebels were retreating back to their places beaten by the forces of the government, they killed and tortured innocent local inhabitants whom they find them on their way irrespective of any differences; foolishly and unjustifiably burned crops and killed farmers’, livestock and caused the communities lasting physical injuries and psychological harms.

Children, women and elders were compelled to face and experience the harshest consequences of the conflict.

According to reports issued by various humanitarian organizations including Human Rights Watch, several children and women faced grave sexual abuses in a manner it seemed retaliation.

Understanding the gravity of the problem, its unintended and undesirable impacts on the lives of little girls and women, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs is undertaking a number of activities that lessen the burden of victims. Apart from rehabilitating sufferers and providing them with humanitarian and material supports, the Ministry has established a national taskforce that offers legal protection for women who had been attacked, tortured and sexually abused by the insurgents of the terrorist group.

Minister of Women and Social Affairs, Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye said that a national taskforce has been set up to provide legal protection to women who have been sexually abused by the terrorist TPLF group. According to her, the taskforce has already commenced its tasks.

The insurgents of the terrorist TPLF, in their short lived in some areas of Amhara and Afar states, perpetrated inhuman crimes against women including small girls; in addition to looting and destruction private and public properties.

Evidently, among the communities who are impacted negatively and severely in armed conflicts, women are in the first rows. Disproportionally, women in war time affected badly for various reasons; and experience the dark side of war in a multitude of ways. The inhuman crimes the insurgents committed against little girls and women are residing in various parts of Amhara and Afar states show this reality, she said.

According to the Minister, the terrorist group has caused elder people, people with disabilities, and children serious physical injuries and psychological harms. Due to this fact, concurrent to treating victims; providing them with legal protection is imperative. To this end, setting up a taskforce that monitors and follows up the case has become the order of the day.

The taskforce is headed by the Ministry of Justice; and it will conduct an investigation based on a joint report issued by the Ethiopian and International Human Rights Commission, as she remarked.

The taskforce parallel to investigating the scale of the problem, it would provide legal protection to women who were abused by members of the rebel group, and she pointed out.

Not only that, in addition to the needed medical treatments, the taskforce would also work to make perpetrators accountable for the crimes they committed, and support victims to get compensation;

Over the past 27 years, the terrorist TPLF faction had been engrossing itself in plotting hostility among Ethiopians targeting on dividing the people. Currently, it has continued attempting to dismantle the country and worsening citizens’ sufferings to realize its ill intents though all is unviable.

Mentioning the irreplaceable value of communities’ centuries old social, cultural and religious values that have incalculable benefits in managing conflicts and sustaining lasting peace, Ergoge said that efforts are being made to strengthen people-to-people relations through integrating the traditional conflict management and reconciliation practices, which were neglected before, with the modern system.

The distinctive contribution women can play to lasting national peace is inimitable. Thus, it is necessary to strengthen women’s participation and support to enable them contributing their share to national reconciliation.

While speaking the psychological support needed for victims of the war Daniel Ayalew, a psychiatrist, said that aside from the humanitarian and material assistances being provided to the war-torn communities, their psychological harm should be treated immediately and accordingly.

As the psychiatrist stated to EPA, following the conflict erupted in the northern part of the country, several people lost their lives, others are exposed to physical injuries and a huge amount of resources were destroyed.

As to him the government and the people have been providing a variety of support to victims of the war; especially financially and materially. However, the effort exerted with regard to addressing victims’ psychological damage caused by the war is not at the desired level.

As to him, psychological damage if not treated speedily, it would be serious and cause permanent mental health problem. Thus, in the same manner we have joined forces in addressing humanitarian and material challenges, facilitating conditions that encourage professionals offer actual support to these segments of society is critical.

However, this should not be a responsibility left to the government alone. Rather experts engaged in the profession should help victims and discharge their civic responsibilities, he opined. The psychiatrist also called on all those in a position to act so before long and fulfill their responsibilities.

Undeniably, the degree of suffer the conflict has caused on women is many-sided. Women and girls tortured and increasingly faced sexual violence, including gang rape. Owing to this, as such things would not be easily forgotten or treated; many women are in need of special help. The move of the Ministry has already commenced to provide legal protection and compensation though is encouraging, other services such as psychosocial interventions and treatment should be strengthened.

The February 3/2022

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