British government calls on Ethiopia to allow aid agencies access to Tigray

2020-11-20 22:17:19 Written by  Eritrea Hub Published in English Articles Read 294 times


Source: Hansard

Photo of Harriett BaldwinHarriett Baldwin Conservative, West Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the political situation in Ethiopia on the humanitarian situation in (a) Ethiopia, (b) Eritrea and (c) Sudan.

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

We are concerned by the ongoing violence between federal and regional forces in the Tigray region and the risk it poses to civilians, and by reports of ethnically-motivated attacks. We are gravely concerned at Amnesty International‘s report of killings of civilians on 9 November and are investigating. The Foreign Secretary called Prime Minister Abiy on 10 November to raise our concerns and stress the urgent need to prioritise the protection of civilian lives, restore services (including banks and telecommunications) and enable humanitarian access. I also spoke to the Ethiopian Ambassador in London on 18 November to reiterate our concerns. The UK has called for immediate de-escalation in Tigray and is working closely with humanitarian agencies to ensure that aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting.

We are reviewing the impact the conflict is having on the delivery of essential health, food and education services in the region and assessing the humanitarian need. Before the current conflict there were already more than one million highly vulnerable persons across Tigray including refugees, internally displaced persons and chronically food insecure communities. The UN predicts that an additional 800,000 people could be impacted by violence in Tigray, causing internal displacement within Ethiopia and across international borders, notably in Sudan where UNHCR reports more than 27,000 people have now crossed the border. We continue to monitor the situation and are appealing to the Government of Ethiopia and others to ensure humanitarian access to those in need in Tigray and affected areas.

Last modified on Friday, 20 November 2020 23:21