InterAction: Statement on deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Ethiopia (16.12.2020)

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.

Ethiopia: UN Emergency funding released for humanitarian response to Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict (17.12.2020)

Ethiopia: Is the Law Enforcement Operation entering Sudan?

Sudan’s armed forces said on Wednesday that a number of its officers had been ambushed by “Ethiopian forces and militias” during a security patrol of the border region. “During the return of our forces from combing the area around Jabal Abutiour inside our territory, they were ambushed by Ethiopian forces and militias inside Sudanese territory, as a result of which lives and equipment were lost,” the army said, adding the attack took place on Tuesday” (Asharq Al-Awsat – ‘Sudan Says Officers Ambushed by Ethiopian ‘Forces and Militias’ during Patrol’ 16.12.2020).

These reports have also been verified by Prime Minster Abdalla Hamdok on Twitter today. What these reports are saying is that the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and Amhara militia (Fano) has entered Sudan. That is escalating the conflict. Just after the three hours of meeting and talks between Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy and PM Hamdok in Addis Ababa on the 13th December 2020.

Seemingly Prime Minister Abiy is more in favour of continuing warfare. Just like he involved Eritrean forces on his soil to punish the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the regional state itself. Which it did start on the 3rd November 2020.

The Sudanese authorities have already shielded refugees from the region and also stopped arms from crossing the borders. Therefore, the Sudanese was naturally a proxy as its borders are directly to the new war-torn region of Tigray. Where two armies and one militia have attacked civilians and the enemy of the Federal Government.

Now, the same militia Fano is attacking in coordinated attacks on Sudanese soil. It is not longer back that in April 2020 that the Ethiopia and Sudan came to an understanding about the agricultural region of Al-Fashqa to the Sudanese state. However, by the time of the agreement the Ethiopian government hadn’t demarcated the area. Now, they are retuning with forces just months after.

Does Prime Minister Abiy wants more enemies? Does he want to the cordial and friendly neighbours in Khartoum? Is his ego speaking to loudly, as he has celebrated a too early victory in Tigray?

Because, this was an direct attack on Sudanese soil. This wasn’t Sudanese troops crossing into Tigray or Ethiopian soil. Therefore, the ones acting deliberately was ENDF and Fano as they entered Sudanese soil. This is escalating and a possible renewed border conflict. As the latest agreement is tarnished by skirmishes on the border.

Does PM Abiy has such ambition that he wants to Abyssinia Emperor or something? Because why does he do this? Before he has even ended his first war within “his” own territory. That is reckless and he needs the goodwill of Khartoum in the negotiations of GERD and with the witness of refugees from the conflict in Tigray. Therefore, Abiy is really stepping out of line here and needs rethink his strategies. Peace.

Communique of the 13th Ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government – November 29 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (29.11.2019)