UNHCR voices deep concern of ‘deteriorating conditions’ of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray



Fri, 21 Jan 2022 - 04:03 GMT


Fri, 21 Jan 2022 - 04:03 GMT

A camp for refugees in Ethiopia – FILE/ EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

A camp for refugees in Ethiopia – FILE/ EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

CAIRO – 21 January 2022: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) expressed deep concerns of the deteriorating conditions of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, highlighting the urgent need to relocate them.

In a statement on Friday, UNHCR said Eritrean refugees in Tigray are struggling to obtain clean water and food and medicine, affirming the need to provide them with life-saving assistance “or more refugees may die.”

UNHCR said two camps for Eritrean refugees have been in desperate need for basic services for several months in light of the severe security situation currently in Ethiopia.

“The desperate situation in these camps is a stark example of the impact of the lack of access and supplies affecting millions of displaced persons and other civilians throughout the region,” the statement said.

UNHCR said it has been urging all parties of the conflict to establish ceasefire and guarantee safe passage that would enable the relocation of over 25,000 refugees remaining in the camps.

“If food, medicine, fuel and other supplies cannot be immediately brought in, and if we continue to be unable to relocate refugees out of harm’s way to where we can provide them with life-saving assistance, more refugees will die,” the statement said.

The UN has widely called for all parties in Ethiopia to “protect civilians and to respect and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, including refugees.”

Earlier this month, the committee in charge of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize called on Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to halt the Tigray conflict, given that he took the peace award in 2019.

The Tigray conflict broke out in November 2020 when the Ethiopian PM ordered a military offensive against rebel forces in the region.

Since then, the conflict has killed thousands of civilians, displaced millions, and left hundreds of thousands facing famine-like conditions, according to Reuters.

The UN has accused the Ethiopian government of blocking humanitarian aid to the region. Early in January, air strikes launched by the forces killed at least 73 civilians in Tigray, according to aid workers.



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