Ethiopia: Armed Conflict

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 16 December 2020.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ask the government of Ethiopia (1) to establish a humanitarian corridor into the Tigray region, and (2) to ensure that any such corridor is supervised in conformity with the neutrality principles laid down by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; and what plans they have to seek access for UK diplomats to all areas affected by the conflict in that region to collect any evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg Conservative

The UK has been at the forefront, liaising closely with the United Nations (UN) and partners, in calling for immediate, free and unfettered humanitarian access across Tigray, in line with the guiding principles laid down by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UK worked with the UN to develop these guidelines and they have been shared with the Government of Ethiopia. We are extremely concerned that humanitarian agencies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), do not have access to refugee camps in Tigray. This means we lack an understanding of the humanitarian and protection context in camps and refugee hosting areas.

We are encouraged that a UN assessment mission was able to access Tigray on 7 December. The mission must be able to work without hindrance and in turn it must facilitate the timely supply of humanitarian support to those who need it including to civilians in contested areas. We will work with the UN to monitor access and humanitarian delivery and the degree to which the UN's guiding principles are adhered to. The UK has, alongside international partners, called on all sides to ensure the protection of civilians and for respect for human rights. We welcome the appeal made by the Ethiopian Commission for Human Rights for an independent investigation into human rights violations.

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