Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other rights groups are calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is scheduled to convene for its 33rd session between September 13 and 30, to prioritise and address the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

According to a joint letter signed by representatives of more than a dozen human rights groups, the situation in Ethiopia has become increasingly unstable since security forces repeatedly fired upon protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions last month. On August 6 and 7, Amnesty International reported at least 100 killings and scores of arrests during protests that took place across multiple towns in both regions. Protesters had taken to the streets throughout the Amhara and Oromia regions to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability.

The rights groups are calling for the security forces to immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia. They are also calling for the release of journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests.

As reported by The Associated Press (AP), protests on regional concerns have turned into broader anti-government protests demanding wider freedoms. Ethiopian officials have called the protests illegal.