Statement to ITV News on the Government’s Response to the Humanitarian Situation in Tigray

30 Jul 2021
Full statement submitted to ITV News in response to their report Tigray conflict: Food will run out for thousands in Ethiopia without aid relief, UN warns (30 July 2021)

…on the Government’s humanitarian response

The Government of Ethiopia takes its responsibility to end the current suffering of the people of Tigray very seriously and has not only demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray but has also provided full and unhindered access for humanitarian operators in the Region.

On 28th June, the Government of Ethiopia enacted a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in the Tigray Region to ensure better humanitarian access and strengthen the effort to rehabilitate and rebuilt the region, especially now during the rainy season to allow farmers to plant their crops. However, the TPLF has outright rejected the ceasefire and instead of taking the opportunity to support those in need for humanitarian assistance, they have resorted to declaring war on neighbouring regions, thus pushing the people of Tigray into further disarray.

Despite the challenges, the Government remains steadfast in its commitment to support and facilitate the safe delivery of critical supplies to its people in Tigray by working with partners. Full permission for humanitarian flights to the Tigray Region have been facilitated and the Government is also facilitating humanitarian convoys through the Afar region and is working to fast-track security checks on the trucks to avoid delays. Allegations that the Government is blocking aid from reaching those in need is far from the truth, as neither the Government of Ethiopia nor the Afar or Amhara regions benefit from blocking humanitarian aid to fellow Ethiopians in Tigray.

Reports do however indicate that food assistance left in storage to be utilised by those in need in the Region, is being exploited by the TPLF for recruitment purposes and for political gains. Humanitarian assistance convoys in transit to the region have also been attacked by the TPLF.

The Government of Ethiopia acknowledges that though there have been significant challenges brought on by the TPLF’s armed insurrection, it remains fully committed to rebuilding and rehabilitating the region, address the urgent humanitarian needs, and enable the return of normalcy for the people of Tigray.

Despite the TPLF’s continued aggression, the international community has remained silent. The Embassy thus calls upon the international community to stand with the people and government of Ethiopia in condemning the TPLF’s atrocities and encroachment into other regions, and especially on their use of child soldiers, which is an international war crime.

The Embassy also calls upon its development partners and the wider international community to help augment humanitarian efforts to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid and critical services to the people of Tigray.

 

…on alleged human rights violations

The Embassy remains deeply concerned by the serious allegations that have arisen within the context of the conflict, and condemns, in the strongest terms, any acts of violence and human rights violations towards innocent civilians.

The Embassy would like to reassure Ethiopians at home and abroad, its development partners, and the wider international community, that the Government of Ethiopia remains committed to thoroughly investigating any serious violations committed against citizens and will spare no effort in bringing perpetrators to justice. No person, including serving soldiers, is above the law.

In line with the Government’s obligation to uphold the rule of law and bring to account perpetrators of these crimes, investigations by special taskforces are ongoing in the region. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are also undertaking joint investigations into alleged serious abuses and rights violations in the Region.

The outcome of these investigations will enable the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice, provide redress to the victims, and comprehensively address alleged human rights violations and crimes that have occurred in Tigray.

—ENDS—

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

LONDON

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