Ethiopia: Humanitarian Situation

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 24 December 2020.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) that UN workers were shot at by Ethiopian forces in Tigray, and (2) that the provision of humanitarian aid to areas of Tigray that are not controlled by the government of Ethiopia has been blocked; and what steps they intend to take in response to the statement by the International Committee for the Red Cross on 8 December that the city of Mekele is “basically today without medical care".

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We are deeply concerned by the reports of UN workers being shot at by Ethiopian forces in Tigray. The UK has been consistent in our request that humanitarian actors be granted free and unfettered access in Tigray and we will continue to work constructively with the Ethiopian authorities, the UN and others to this end. Ongoing impediments to access faced by relief actors puts civilians at risk in Tigray. The Minister for Africa reiterated this in his tweet of 9 December.

The UK is a major and longstanding humanitarian donor to Ethiopia. UK support has benefitted millions of Ethiopians; has saved lives, promoted dignity and supported poverty alleviation efforts. It is important that we can continue to support the people of Ethiopia including those impacted by the violence in Tigray. Humanitarian agencies including UK funded partners in Tigray are working hard in extremely challenging circumstances to deliver assistance to refugees and host communities including shelter; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and protection support. Urgent access is required so that humanitarian support can be provided and delivery of essential services can resume immediately. We welcome the news of the International Committee for the Red Cross convoy reaching Mekele over the weekend of 12 and 13 December.

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