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UN Special Envoy On Sexual Violence Warns Of 'Serious' Rape Charges In Ethiopia's Tigray

Pramila Patten, UN special representative on sexual violence, warns of serious sexual violence allegations, as women in Ethiopia face a shortage of rape kits and HIV drugs

UN Special Envoy On Sexual Violence Warns Of 'Serious' Rape Charges In Ethiopia's Tigray
Representational image | AP
UN Special Envoy On Sexual Violence Warns Of 'Serious' Rape Charges In Ethiopia's Tigray
outlookindia.com
2021-01-22T20:31:32+05:30

While women and girls face a shortage of rape kits and HIV drugs amid restrictions on humanitarian access, Pramila Patten, United Nations special representative on sexual violence, said that “serious allegations of sexual violence” have been rising in the armed Ethiopian Tigray region. 

“There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” said Patten in a statement. “Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities, while medical centres have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections", she added. 

Patten joined growing calls for immediate and unconditional access to the Tigray region, where fighting broke out in early November between Ethiopian forces and those of the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once dominated the country's government.

A spokeswoman for Patten's office wouldn't say which “military elements” were involved. The fighters in Tigray include those from the neighbouring Amhara region and other parts of Ethiopia as well as soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea.

New arrivals in camps for refugees and internally displaced people are reporting sexual violence, and “there are increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls” inside the camps, Patten's statement said.

Ethiopia's government says aid has begun flowing into the Tigray region, but humanitarian workers have told The Associated Press that access remains limited. In addition, aid is sometimes accompanied by Ethiopian forces.

With PTI inputs 

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