Ethiopia: Authorities must protect civilians and ensure access of humanitarian workers

© UNFPA Sudan/Sufian Abdul-Mout
A woman receives health services at a transit point in Hamdayet, Sudan.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič issued the following statement:

Today in Brussels I met the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and in the wider region.

I conveyed my concern about the hostilities on the ground and reports from the humanitarian community not having access to help those in need of assistance. It is therefore crucial that humanitarian workers have unrestricted access to all areas affected by fighting. Any party in the conflict must protect civilians and ensure their safe and free movement in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

The only solution lies in the urgent cessation of hostilities. Until this is not the case, the threat of serious destabilisation of Ethiopia as well as the wider region remains. The EU considers Ethiopia as a key partner in Africa and wishes to see the country as a peaceful, democratic and prosperous place for all of its population.

The humanitarian situation in the country was demanding already before this crisis, with the Commission has already provided more than €44 million for humanitarian assistance this year. After the escalation of hostilities, the Commission immediately allocated an additional €4 million for urgent humanitarian needs of Ethiopian refugees who fled the conflict to neighbouring Sudan, a country already dealing with the challenges of hosting a substantial number of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Our new EU funding will support non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies in Kassala and Gedarif states in eastern Sudan, both of which have seen a sudden influx of refugee arrivals that compound existing humanitarian needs on the ground. Refugees will receive basic essentials such as shelter, access to food and health care, sanitation and hygiene, and protection.”

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