Ethiopia: Humanitarian Situation

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 12th April 2021.

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the remarks made by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 23 March that “reports indicate that atrocities have been committed in Tigray region”, and (2) the humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia.

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

We welcome Prime Minister Abiy's statement on 23 March that the perpetrators of human rights atrocities in Ethiopia's Tigray region should face justice - whoever they are. We need to see action now to stop further atrocities and to allow for the independent investigation of those that have occurred. Since the conflict started, the UK has consistently called for an end to fighting, and for all parties to the conflict to prioritise the protection of civilians.

The UK has also been consistent in calling for free and unfettered humanitarian access to the 4.5 million people in Tigray in need. The Foreign Secretary raised the need for humanitarian access to Tigray with Prime Minister Abiy during his visit to Ethiopia and pressed for a political dialogue to bring lasting peace to the region. The Minister for Africa re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when he spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February. The presence of Eritrean troops in Tigray is one the main barriers to humanitarian access and they should leave Ethiopia immediately. Humanitarian providers must be protected to ensure they can help those in need. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are delivering support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Mekelle on 5 March. They heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations, the challenges of aid delivery and how some of the £15.4m of UK Aid is helping to support those affected by the Tigray conflict. The Government of Ethiopia must act now to protect its people.

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