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Securing ceasefire and delivering humanitarian aid in Ethiopia must be the priority now to tackle famine in Tigray region


06 Jul 2021


Global Europe

Following intense pressure from the S&D Group, a long-requested debate on the dramatic situation in Ethiopia and the conflict in the region of Tigray has finally taken place. The humanitarian situation in the region, and especially the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, are extremely serious and have provoked strong condemnation. The exclusion of the Tigray region from the general election risks calling into doubt the credibility of the result and contributing to the destabilisation of the country. The S&D Group calls for concrete EU measures to immediately end attacks against civilians and lift restrictions on humanitarian aid. Tools like arms embargos, targeted sanctions and action at the UN Human Rights Council, should be considered.

The S&D co-ordinator in the development committee, Udo Bullmann MEP, said:

“The ceasefire in Tigray is long overdue and we urgently need to mitigate what has essentially become a historic humanitarian crisis, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

“The United Nations must now get the full support of all members to help up to 5 million of people who are in dire need of humanitarian relief and assistance.

“We must ensure that all organisations working to assist the people in the region are granted access to the region and get the logistical support necessary.

“In the upcoming weeks and months, it will be crucial to secure the ceasefire, prevent the crisis from worsening and save the lives of the civilians in the region, as well as to find a political solution and prevent the crisis from becoming endemic.”

The chair of the human rights subcommittee, S&D MEP Marie Arena, commented:

“The war in Ethiopia and particularly in the Tigray region has led to the worst humanitarian crisis, plunging more than 400,000 people into famine and putting 1.8 million more at risk. In the short term, our priority must therefore be to put in place measures to get an urgent ceasefire and the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid. In the medium term, the EU, along with the African Union and the entire international community, will need to commit to facilitating dialogue between all the Ethiopian parties involved, making sure all the foreign forces and militias involved in the conflict leave the country, and promoting an inclusive and respectful approach between all Ethiopian communities.”