Gov’t Welcomes UN Apology for Check-Point Security Incident (December 12, 2020)

The Government of Ethiopia has welcomed the apology of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, for the check-Point security incident in Tigray Regional State, according to Ministry of Peace.

According to a statement by the ministry, the Ethiopian Government is concerned about the manner in which the recent unauthorized travel of UN staff to an insecure area was reported and wishes to set the record straight.

On 06 December 2020, a convoy carrying UN staff without authorized travel permits ignored the repeated warning and pleas of security officials, in breach of the agreement between the government and the UN on humanitarian access, it said.  

Law enforcement personnel had to stop the vehicle and escort the UN staff to a place of safety. As per the Agreement, it is important that all humanitarian workers follow the security guidelines set out by the Government of Ethiopia as the government takes its obligation to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian workers and supplies seriously.

“We wish to once again remind all humanitarian workers to respect the agreed safety protocols and follow the advice of the law enforcement personnel. While the government recognizes the need by international humanitarian organizations to urgently get aid supplies across the Tigray region, it maintains a position that proper authorization is required from federal authorities,” the statement noted.

It further pointed out that “the government welcomes the apology given by Catherine Sozi, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, on the incident. It also hopes that the UN will put mechanisms in place to prevent similar breaches in the future as it undermines humanitarian coordination and poses serious security risks.”

According to the statement, the Ethiopian Government reaffirms its readiness to work closely with the UN pursuant to the Agreement concluded on 29 November, 2020.

And the people and Government of Ethiopia are grateful for the critical assistance provided to  vulnerable citizens in this time of need, it said.

The Government of Ethiopia is committed to put all available resources to address the humanitarian challenges on time, it was pointed out.

Accordingly, the Ethiopian Government also wishes to reiterate that it highly treasures its partnership with UN Agencies and recognizes their invaluable contribution to national development programs and disaster risk management activities.

Moreover, it will continue to provide all essential humanitarian assistance jointly with the United Nations per the terms of the agreement.

The statement further stated that the Federal Police has been deployed to gather evidence and arrest the leadership and members of the TPLF junta that are responsible for heinous crimes.

In parallel, all responsible government bodies are working on infrastructure maintenance and disaster risk management to restore basic services and to deliver humanitarian assistance.

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