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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article30 September 2022Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Statement by Commissioner Lenarčič on the humanitarian situation and International Humanitarian Law in northern Ethiopia

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič
© European Union, 2022

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

"The EU is alarmed at the deterioration of the humanitarian operating environment in northern Ethiopia since the resumption of hostilities in August 2022. Reportedly, tens of thousands of people are newly displaced and damage to civilian property and infrastructure is widespread.

This comes on top of an already dramatic humanitarian context. According to the World Food Programme, 13 million people across the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions are in need of food assistance as a direct result of the conflict. At the same time Ethiopia is experiencing the most severe drought recorded since 1981, leaving an estimated 7.4 million people facing grave food insecurity.

The renewal of fighting severely hampers humanitarian aid delivery in northern Ethiopia. The supply of humanitarian commodities and fuel as well as cash availability are still totally blocked for Tigray and greatly impeded in all affected areas in Amhara and Afar. Humanitarian organisations had to suspend their operations and withdraw some staff from conflict-affected areas. This is a serious blow to humanitarian operations and to millions of highly vulnerable people in Tigray, Afar and Amhara that depend on humanitarian aid for their survival.

In accordance with International Humanitarian Law, the EU calls on all belligerents to grant unhindered access to humanitarian organisations, so that they can reach all people in need, in line with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence. The EU recalls the duty of all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety and security of civilians, humanitarian workers and humanitarian assets, notably by strict application of the principles of precautions and distinction in the conduct of hostilities. The EU also invites all parties to the conflict to engage in civilian-military coordination that is presently largely insufficient.

The EU condemns in the strongest terms all violations of international humanitarian law committed in northern Ethiopia since the conflict began on 3 November 2020. The EU encourages all the parties to immediately end hostilities and reach a negotiated permanent ceasefire agreement.”