As the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region enters its sixth week, there is an escalating risk of a regional political and security crisis, coupled with a large-scale humanitarian emergency, that could affect nearly 2 million people.
InterAction, on behalf of its humanitarian and development Member non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to support conflict-affected communities in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, calls on all conflict parties to allow safe, free, and unfettered humanitarian access into and around Tigray, as well as the full restoration of telecommunication services and electricity.
In this highly politicized context, all conflict parties must consider and treat the humanitarian response as neutral, independent, and impartial to ensure civilian populations can access the lifesaving services they are entitled to and the aid workers serving them remain safe. InterAction reminds all parties of their obligation to protect the civilian population and civilian objects during and after the conduct of hostilities by following international humanitarian, human rights, and refugee law, and to take the utmost care to ensure that humanitarian workers, facilities, and assets are not targeted or attacked.
As nearly 50,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into eastern Sudan, InterAction calls for all concerned parties to allow for free movement of the civilian population seeking safe refuge and assistance within the Tigray region or outside the affected areas. This includes protecting the right to cross international borders to seek asylum and upholding non-refoulment guarantees extended to Eritrean refugees in Tigray.
InterAction also calls on donors to provide new, flexible funding, particularly for frontline NGOs, to adequately scale up and sustain the humanitarian response in Tigray, the surrounding area, and in refugee-hosting communities, while simultaneously ensuring funds are not diverted from existing humanitarian or development programs in Ethiopia.