UN chief “very concerned” by situation in Tigray, calls for quickly restoring rule of law

ADDIS ABABA (EI): The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “very concerned by situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state, as he called for quickly restoring rule of law, public services delivery.

“The Secretary-General is very concerned about the current situation in the Tigray province in Ethiopia,” a statement issued by Monday by the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General read, noting that Guterres “feels that it is essential to quickly restore the rule of law, in full respect for human rights, promote social cohesion, an inclusive reconciliation, as well as to re-establish the delivery of public services and guarantee unfettered humanitarian access.”

“The United Nations remains totally committed to supporting the African Union initiative. We also remain fully committed to mobilizing the full capacity of the United Nations to provide humanitarian support to refugees, displaced people and all populations in distress,” the statement read.

The spokesperson further stressed that the Secretary-General has also been “conveying these messages in the numerous conversations he has had with United Nations representatives on the ground and regional leaders, as well as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia with whom he spoke today.”

On Tuesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that aid into Ethiopia’s Tigray region can no longer wait.

“Last week, the Ethiopian government agreed a deal with the United Nations that would allow the delivery of critical aid to millions of people, including refugees in Tigray,” Norwegian Refugee Council’s Secretary General, Jan Egeland, said on Tuesday.

“This week, NRC is deeply concerned to find that humanitarian access to the region is still significantly constrained. Children, women and men in Tigray have now borne the brunt of this conflict for more than a month without any emergency assistance from outside the region,” Egeland added.

“These people can no longer be made to wait. Aid must not be left at a standstill. We have been standing ready to deliver food, emergency shelter and other essential materials for weeks, and we expected this deal to clear the way. We strongly urge all authorities in Ethiopia, as well our UN partners, to avoid any further lags and urgently permit humanitarian deliveries, so that we can get help to people who urgently need it.”

On Monday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) warned that Humanitarian situation continues to “deteriorate rapidly” in Ethiopia’s Northern Tigray regional state as close to 49,000 fled into Sudan amid weeks of fighting.

 “The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to deteriorate rapidly, one month on since the conflict began in early November,” the UNOCHA said in its latest situation report issued on late Monday, as it emphasized that some 48,992 Ethiopian refugees have fled into Sudan since November 7.

The UNOCHA, which noted that some 850,000 people had been in need of aid before the conflict erupted in early November, also said that 1.1 million additional people are projected to need aid.

“Although verification of the full extent of the crisis is still challenging due to telecommunication blackouts and lack of access, humanitarians on the ground have reported critical shortages of the most basic commodities, including food and water, affecting the whole region, the refugee camps and aid workers living in Tigray,” the statement read.

It also stressed that humanitarian needs have reportedly further increased following the recent clashes in the capital Mekelle, capital of Tigray regional state.

(PHOTO by NRC) shows Leilti, Gebreyeseus and their daughter Lela 1-M

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