Press Statement on the Latest Situation in the Tigray Region (March 5, 2021)

With the successful conclusion of the law enforcement operation, the most important priority of the Ethiopian Government in the Tigray region continues to be providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to the affected people. In this regard, it has taken concrete measures to comprehensively respond to the dire humanitarian needs on the ground, including by reallocating its meager resources from other priority areas. Therefore it should be noted that the Ethiopian Government is so far covering 70% of the food assistance from its resources, while only the remaining 30% is covered by development partners and NGOs.

As indicated in the latest statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ethiopian Government has provided 780,534.6 quintals of food items to 3,800,000 beneficiaries. In addition, it has distributed non-food items estimated at more than 80 million Birr (including emergency shelter and emergency medicines) and allocated around 31million Birr for the maintenance of basic infrastructures, such as water lines. It has also provided medical supplies worth close to 199 million Birr.

The Government is also working to operationalize the health facilities in the Region and deliver emergency supplies for the hospitals and other health institutions. More than 2029 quintals of CSB and medicine has been distributed to 135,267 beneficiaries, especially partners like UNICEF and other nutrition cluster members have been heavily engaged in supplying CSB and emergency medical supplies by focusing on children under 5, lactating and pregnant women.

The ongoing relief operations have so far reached out to nearly four million people and all-out efforts are being made to reach out to every single person in need in the region. Despite the progress made thus far, the Government recognizes that the humanitarian needs on the ground remain enormously huge. That is why it is appealing to bilateral and multilateral partners to scale up their support. The Government is ready to do the necessary needs assessment jointly with partners.

Based on its continuous engagement with the international community, the Ethiopian Government has made major policy decisions recently to address some of the concerns that have been raised. In this connection, the Government has made its firm and unwavering commitment not only to provide unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance but also to ensure its implementation on the ground. With the improvement of the security situation on the ground, most areas of the region are now accessible, and a notification process has been put in place to allow humanitarian actors to travel to the region and operate without much difficulty.

The Government has made clear its unequivocal position concerning human rights abuses and crimes allegedly committed in the Tigray region. In this regard, it has reaffirmed its full commitment to undertake thorough investigations to get to the bottom of the issue and bring perpetrators to justice. The relevant Ethiopian authorities and the independent Ethiopian Human Rights Commission are undertaking the necessary investigative work that will enable the Government to take concrete measures to comprehensively address the alleged serious human rights violations and bring the perpetrators of serious crimes to justice. In this context, the Government not only welcomed the support of international human rights experts but also signaled the possibility of collaboration on joint investigations with the relevant human rights bodies. Discussion is underway with the relevant stakeholders to look at modalities for its implementation.

Furthermore, the Government is facilitating access to both local and international media to travel to the region and do their journalistic work. It is also committed to addressing any issues that may arise in relation to their work. Equally important is the need for both local and international media to follow the rules and observe the necessary code of conduct.

Finally, the Government is always ready and willing to engage with the international community in a positive and constructive manner to effectively respond to the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region. It appeals to the international community to understand the complexity of the challenge and work with the Government to scale up the ongoing relief and reconstruction efforts to restore lasting peace and normalcy in the region.

Access is adequately created; hence it would be pointless to call for access anymore. International media outlets have been granted unimpeded access to the region too. The situation in Tigray calls for concrete actions and that is food and medical assistance.

Spokesperson Office

5 March 2021

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