in Tigray – Ethiopia
15 April 2022
On Monday 11 April, 2022, an Eritrean refugee died in Alem-Wach refugee camp, in Debat, Gondar, due to lack of medical care.
On 2 April 2022, at around 6: 45p.m, six unknown armed assailants began shooting at Eritrean refugees who were in their camp in Alem-Wach refugee camp. Two of the refugees were seriously injured and six others sustained minor to moderately serious injuries.Refugees at these camps are clearly unsafe and unprotected
On Thursday 14 April, 2022, 12 days after the shooting incident at Alem-Wach refugee camp, the Director General of the Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), Mr. Tesfahun Gobeezay denied and dismissed the attack and attempted to describe it as being a fight among refugees. However, Human Rights Concern -Eritrea (HRCE), the UNHCR, and international media outlets have confirmed the incident at a time, and also interviewed the refugees who witnessed the attack.
ARRA and the UNHCR have failed to provide protection for refugees. Moreover, the camp is a new one, and was not ready for occupation. It lacks basic necessities, including adequate food and medical care.
In coordination with the UNHCR office in Ethiopia, ARRA was in the process of establishing the Alem-Wach when the war in Tigray began in November 2020. Fighting has been continuous, and has expanded to the Amhara and Afar regions.
Since the beginning of the war, Eritrean refugees in Tigray, Afar and the Amhara region have been exposed to danger. Neither the Ethiopian government nor the UNHCR have been able to guarantee their safety. In early 2021, Eritrean troops destroyed two refugee camps for Eritreans in Tigray, dispersing and forcibly returning approximately 20,000 refugees. In January 2022, refugees were killed by airstrikes that hit Mai Aini refugee camp in Tigray.
Eritrean refugees had fled a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world, and are now being targeted, killed, and otherwise abused in Ethiopia. Ethiopian refugee camps are no longer safe for Eritrean refugees.
Like Tigrayans, Eritrean refugees are also suffering due to a lengthy blockade enforced on Tigray by the Ethiopian government. The UNHCR and other aid groups have not been able to reach the refugee camps in Tigray for a very long period. Because of the deliberate siege by the Abiy Ahmed government, food rations and medical supplies have not reached over 25,000 Eritrean refugees in Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps for more than three months.
Human Rights Concern Eritrea (HRCE) calls on the Ethiopian government: –
- To protect Eritrean refugees in its territory, whether in Tigray, Amhara region or any other areas, providing robust protection against any maurauders.
- To heed the urgent warnings of the UNHCR concerning the imminent danger of mass starvation and death in the camps and in the entire Tigray region.
- To confirm and implement the humanitarian truce recently agreed in Tigray region to allow immediate access to food and medical supplies for refugees and the entire civilian population of Tigray.
HRCE calls on all member states of the United Nations to put diplomatic pressure on Prime Minister Ahmed’s government to take the above urgent actions immediately, reminding them of their responsibilities under international law with regard to ensuring the survival and welfare of refugees and civilians in Tigray region.
Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)