Africa Minister says “UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in challenging circumstances, including shelter, water and healthcare. We are tracking the situation and continue to raise the importance of respect for human rights with the Government of Ethiopia and regional leaders on all sides”

Jan 4, 2021 | Featured parliamentary activity

James Duddridge MP
Minister for Africa
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW

31 December 2020
Dear Lord Alton,


Thank you for your correspondence of 12 December to the Lord Tariq Ahmad of
Wimbledon, about treatment of Eritrean refugees. I am replying as the Minister for Africa.


We are concerned about the continuing violence in Tigray region and its impact on neighbouring countries, including Eritrea. We are deeply worried about the risks the conflict poses to civilian lives. We are pressing all parties involved to secure immediate


humanitarian access and ensure the restoration of basic services.
We are very concerned at reports that Eritrean troops have entered Ethiopian refugee camps in Tigray and forced a number of refugees to return to Eritrea. If proven, this would be a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Alleged violations of IHL must be investigated to secure respect for IHL and prevent future violations, including as necessary through international criminal tribunals.

The British Ambassador in Eritrea raised these questions with the Eritrean Foreign
Minister on 2 December, who denied that Eritrea is involved militarily in the conflict and categorically denied that Eritrean forces had forcibly returned Eritrean refugees to Eritrea. He also stated that there are no Ethiopian refugees in Eritrea. Due to the
ongoing restricted access for humanitarian agencies, it has not yet been possible to
fully corroborate these reports.


The UK has been consistent in calling for free and unfettered humanitarian access. We welcome news of an ICRC convoy arriving in Mekele over the weekend of 12/13
December. Ongoing impediments to access faced by relief actors puts civilians at risk in Tigray. All parties must ensure civilians are not exposed to unnecessary harm. Urgentaccess is required so that humanitarian support can be provided and delivery of essential services must resume immediately.

The UK is a major and longstanding humanitarian donor to Ethiopia. We recognise the early efforts by the UN to address the crisis in Tigray. The UK is working closely with humanitarian organisations to make sure aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting.


UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in challenging
circumstances, including shelter, water and healthcare. We are tracking the situation
and continue to raise the importance of respect for human rights with the Government of Ethiopia and regional leaders on all sides. It is our hope that a resolution is forthcoming, and the UK is engaging with Ethiopian and international partners at the highest level to facilitate this.

James Duddridge MP
Minister for Africa

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.

Social Media

Site Search

Recent Posts

For the Uyghurs, Genocide is a word which dares not speak its name. For the sake of women like Rahima Mahmut, Gulzira Auelkhan, Sayragul Sauytbay, and Ruqiye Perhat – whose heart-breaking, shocking, stories are recorded here – it’s time that the crime of genocide was given definition in the UK. On January 19th Parliament can use its voice and speak that name – insisting on justice for victims of Genocide and refusing to make tawdry trade deals with those responsible for the crime above all crimes.

For the Uyghurs, Genocide is a word which dares not speak its name. For the sake of women like Rahima Mahmut, Gulzira Auelkhan, Sayragul Sauytbay, and Ruqiye Perhat – whose heart-breaking, shocking, stories are recorded here – it’s time that the crime of genocide was given definition in the UK. On January 19th Parliament can use its voice and speak that name – insisting on justice for victims of Genocide and refusing to make tawdry trade deals with those responsible for the crime above all crimes.

For the Uyghurs Genocide is a word which dares...

Share This