Ethiopian Crisis: EU underlines humanitarian access to all people in need

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Brussels, Dec. 25, 2020 It is of paramount importance that hostilities in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region cease completely, that civilians are protected and all parties to the conflict uphold international humanitarian law, including ensuring the safety of aid workers, The European Union (EU) said on Friday.

Stating that the EU is closely following the Ethiopian crisis, the Union’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, pointed out that the conflict and its regional impact are of growing concern for the international community.

“The EU commends Sudan, which has opened its borders to those fleeing this conflict,’ said Borrell.

“The EU remains concerned by the humanitarian situation, as well as allegations of human rights violations and ethnic targeting. Ongoing reports of non-Ethiopian involvement raise additional worries.”

Borrell emphasised that unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need in all affected areas of the country must be guaranteed, to carry out needs assessments, deliver response and monitor aid in line with the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, and independence.

At the same time, the EU has welcomed the recent steps taken to this end and urged the Ethiopian government to pursue its efforts. “All refugees and displaced people within Tigray and beyond must be effectively protected, including preventing any act of forced and premature relocation or return.”

In addition, the EU welcomed work that has been initiated to restore telecommunication to some parts of Tigray, underlining that it is crucial that communication channels and media access are reinstated and guaranteed.

“As a longstanding friend of Ethiopia, the EU is deeply concerned by recent reports, including from the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, on grave violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

“Furthermore, reports of ethnically targeted violence in Benishangul-Gumuz as well as all other allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law need to be impartially investigated and accountability ensured,” EU High Representative stressed..

Borrell added that the EU encourages all parties to seize the opportunities offered, most recently by high-level envoys of the African Union and the IGAD Summit, to put an end to the conflict and to help establish a dialogue within Ethiopia to address issues of peace and coexistence through consultation and consensus.

He assured that the EU stands ready to support Ethiopia in these efforts.

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