Ethiopia: Armed Conflict

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of (a) the implications for his policies of recent violence and (b) the human rights situation in the Oromia region of Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is concerned by the violence in the Tigray region and the risk it poses to civilians, and by reports of ethnically-motivated attacks both within Tigray and elsewhere in Ethiopia. We are also concerned about the risk these events pose to Ethiopia's overall political stability and its democratic transition, of which the UK has been supportive. The Foreign Secretary spoke with Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November and called for the immediate de-escalation of violence, for the protection of civilians and for unfettered humanitarian access. He reiterated these messages when he met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke on 25 November.

Oromia and Amhara have also seen violent clashes in recent months. I condemned the killing of Amharan civilians on 1 November in Oromia. I visited Ethiopia from 27-29 July and discussed growing ethnic tensions with the President and senior ministers, as well as the President of Oromia. The UK is committed to supporting a peaceful political transition in Ethiopia where all the rights of minorities are protected. We will continue to monitor closely the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

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