UK Government says it is concerned by reports that “Eritrean troops have entered Ethiopian refugee camps in Tigray and forced a number of refugees to return to Eritrea” and responds to reports of a mass killing at the Mariam of Zion church in Aksum, Ethiopia. Meanwhile, (UNHCR) say that more than 58,000 refugees have fled into neighbouring countries to escape the conflict

Jan 25, 2021 | Uncategorized

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL11957):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to end the forced repatriation of refugees to Eritrea from refugee camps in Tigray; and what assessment they have made of (1) reports of armed attacks on those refugee camps; and (2) of the humanitarian needs of the refugees in those camps. (HL11957)

Tabled on: 11 January 2021

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are concerned at reports that Eritrean troops have entered Ethiopian refugee camps in Tigray and forced a number of refugees to return to Eritrea. Due to the lack of access to northern refugee camps in Tigray for humanitarian agencies, including the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), it has not yet been possible to fully corroborate these reports. We have however, raised our concerns with Ministers in both governments, making clear the overriding need to protect civilians and adhere to international law and international human rights law. We continue to call for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses and violations, and that the perpetrators of those incidents that are proven are held to account, whoever they may be.

The UK continues to call for sustained, free and unfettered humanitarian access across Tigray, so that the UNHCR can uphold its mandate towards refugees. It is the responsibility of the host state to ensure refugees are protected and are not subjected to forcible return.

Date and time of answer: 25 Jan 2021 at 12:18.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL12040):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of a mass killing on 15 December 2020 at the Mariam of Zion church in Aksum, Ethiopia. (HL12040)

Tabled on: 12 January 2021

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are shocked and saddened by further reports from Tigray of massacres of civilians, sexual violence, and attacks on humanitarian facilities and places of worship. An ongoing lack of access to the Tigray region for humanitarian agencies, means that it remains difficult to fully corroborate these reports, but we will continue to try to do so. We have however made clear our concerns with Ethiopian Ministers, and underlined the overriding need to protect civilians and adhere to international law and international human rights law. We continue to call for independent, international, investigations into allegations of human right abuses and violations, and that the perpetrators of those incidents that are proven are held to account, whoever they may be. The UK continues to call for sustained, free and unfettered humanitarian access across Tigray

Date and time of answer: 25 Jan 2021 at 12:17.


Further Question Tabled January 25th 2021:

Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the estimate by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that more than 58,000 refugees have fled into neighbouring countries to escape the conflict in Tigray; and what estimate they have made of the percentage of the 79.5 million people estimated by the UNHCR to be currently displaced worldwide who are so displaced as a consequence of conflict.

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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