Tigray and Ethiopia: Government replies on the call for an independent inquiry into the Mai Kadra Massacre; independent monitoring; and the firing of shots at UN officials; the blocking of humanitarian aid.

Dec 24, 2020 | Featured parliamentary activity

Tigray and Ethiopia

 Lord Alton of Liverpool – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Ethiopia about reports that it has refused the offer of international co-operation in investigating the Mai Kadra massacre; if they have, what response they received; and, if not, whether they intend to make representations.

[HL11265]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon – The Government of Ethiopia indicated on 8 December that it would conduct the initial investigation into the reported killing of civilians on 9 November in Mai Kadra. Since 8 December, we have spoken with representatives of the Government of Ethiopia about the nature of that investigation and to make clear that HMG supports the call by the Ethiopian Commission for Human Rights for the independent investigation of human rights abuses and violations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL11335):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 9 December about the situation in Ethiopia; what steps they intend to take (1) to implement independent monitoring, (2) to protect human rights, and (3) to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account, in that country. (HL11335)

Tabled on: 10 December 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We share the concerns about the situation in Ethiopia expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her statement of 9 December. The UK has, alongside international partners, called on all sides to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect human rights. There must also be accountability for any human rights abuses and violations. We welcome the call by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission for the independent investigation of human rights violations. We are tracking the situation and continue to raise the importance of respect for human rights with the Government of Ethiopia and leaders on both sides, while pressing for an early political solution.

Date and time of answer: 24 Dec 2020 at 10:13.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL11336):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) that UN workers were shot at by Ethiopian forces in Tigray, and (2) that the provision of humanitarian aid to areas of Tigray that are not controlled by the government of Ethiopia has been blocked; and what steps they intend to take in response to the statement by the International Committee for the Red Cross on 8 December that the city of Mekele is “basically today without medical care”. (HL11336)

Tabled on: 10 December 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are deeply concerned by the reports of UN workers being shot at by Ethiopian forces in Tigray. The UK has been consistent in our request that humanitarian actors be granted free and unfettered access in Tigray and we will continue to work constructively with the Ethiopian authorities, the UN and others to this end. Ongoing impediments to access faced by relief actors puts civilians at risk in Tigray. The Minister for Africa reiterated this in his tweet of 9 December.

The UK is a major and longstanding humanitarian donor to Ethiopia. UK support has benefitted millions of Ethiopians; has saved lives, promoted dignity and supported poverty alleviation efforts. It is important that we can continue to support the people of Ethiopia including those impacted by the violence in Tigray. Humanitarian agencies including UK funded partners in Tigray are working hard in extremely challenging circumstances to deliver assistance to refugees and host communities including shelter; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and protection support. Urgent access is required so that humanitarian support can be provided and delivery of essential services can resume immediately. We welcome the news of the International Committee for the Red Cross convoy reaching Mekele over the weekend of 12 and 13 December.

Date and time of answer: 24 Dec 2020 at 10:25

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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