Aid agencies have been provided unfettered access to meet humanitarian needs in Tigray region, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Office said on Friday.
The full text of the latest statement issued by the office reads as follows
Unfettered humanitarian access and joint investigations in the Tigray Region
Following the treasonous attack perpetrated by the TPLF criminal clique against the Ethiopian National Defence Forces on 4 November 2020, complex challenges in the region emerged as a direct consequence of this treasonous act which has put civilians in Tigray under great vulnerability.
The rule of law operations was carried out in the region to ensure that perpetrators are apprehended and brought to justice for their crimes against the constitutional order of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and for putting the continued survival of our nation under grave threat.
Over the past months and despite the misplaced assignment of culpability on the Government of a sovereign Ethiopia, various efforts have been undertaken by the Federal Government to address the region’s complex security, humanitarian and social challenges-existing and emerging, following the criminality of a rogue group. These efforts to stabilize the Tigray region, to bring normalcy to the lives of our citizens, to adequately address existing and new humanitarian needs, will continue by the Federal Government with close collaboration with humanitarian agencies and development partners.
It is to be recalled that the Federal Government announced in its February 24th 2021 statement, the developments on humanitarian assistance, international media access to the region and ongoing investigations for alleged crimes.
Accordingly, we wish to affirm that humanitarian agencies have now been provided unfettered access to aid in the region. Furthermore, the Government of Ethiopia will continue bringing all perpetrators to justice following thorough investigations into alleged crimes in the region through our Federal institutions. In this regard, the Government welcomes international technical assistance to undertake the investigations as well as invites the potential to collaborate on joint investigations.
The Government of Ethiopia once again reiterates its commitment to enabling a stable and peaceful region in which its citizens’ needs are met and impunity does not prevail for perpetrators of crimes against humanity and crimes against the state.
As a sovereign country, while we welcome the concerns and tangible contributions of our international partners for a much-needed humanitarian support, coordination of humanitarian assistance remains the mandate of the Federal Government, facilitated by the Ministry of Peace.
Per the joint protocols established in delivering humanitarian assistance, more than 135 personnel of bilateral and multilateral aid organizations have been provided clearance to travel and undertake assistance work in the region. There are now 29 international organizations working on the ground under the Emergency Coordinating Committee (ECC) who are also members of the Incident Command Post. The Incidence Command Post serves as a focal point for the ECC to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the people in need through the established structures.
Considering that the Tigray region was placed under a state of emergency, access to the region has been based on adherence to state of emergency protocols. While both local and international journalists were provided access as early as November 2020 to cover the active phase of the rule of law operations and have filed reports from the region, allegations that the region was subjected to ‘no media’ access is a false representation of the situation.
Under the current phase, access has been granted to international journalists from 7 international media agencies. These include AFP, Al Jazeera, New York Times, France 24, Reuters, BBC and Financial Times.
Human Rights Investigations:
The Government of Ethiopia takes seriously allegations of human rights violations and has set up mechanisms to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of alleged human rights violations committed, including sexual violations. Perpetrators and those who harbour criminals will not escape justice and will be tried in the court of law. This includes crimes committed by more than 10,000 criminals that were imprisoned in the region and set loose by the fugitive criminal clique.
Independent investigations have also been carried out and the results made public by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, for which remedial actions will be taken by the government.
Considering the destruction of public documents, infrastructure and property by the criminal clique’s forces, the Provisional Administration of Tigray has faced some challenges. With ongoing budgetary support from the Federal government, a national solidarity initiative has been launched on February 18, 2021 where all regional administrations have pledged to contribute financial, equipment and other material support, in reinforcing the capacity of the Provisional Administration to effectively deliver public services.