Ethiopia faces a crucial vote as the UN human rights head condemns 'reliable claims' of Tigray crimes.

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Kirti Pathak
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Ethiopia

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On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said she was "extremely troubled" by continuing reports of human rights breaches in Tigray, Ethiopia, including executions of civilians, sexual violence against minors, and forced relocation. Michelle Bachelet said in remarks to kick off a three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that she expected an ongoing investigation into violations there to be completed and made public in August.

She also mentioned "reliable reports" that Eritrean soldiers are still in the Tigray region, violating human rights and humanitarian law despite a vow earlier this month to withdraw soon. Bachelet's remarks come after Ethiopia held elections on Monday, which the prime minister described as proof of his dedication to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule, despite the fact that voting was delayed in some places due to violence and opposition parties boycotted the poll in others.

According to election board chief Birtukan Midekssa, voting has been mainly calm so far, although numerous opposition parties have alleged that their operatives have been beaten and their badges confiscated in the Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Regions. She didn't say who was to blame. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated last week that the national and regional polls would be Ethiopia's "first attempt at free and fair elections," as the country's once-booming economy has been damaged by conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, ethnic violence and printing errors have caused elections to be postponed in one-fifth of the constituencies, including all of Tigray.

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