The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday released a list of seven employees of United Nations agencies deemed to be undesirable persons. The officials were accused of interfering in the internal affairs of the state. They were ordered to leave the country within 72 hours. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “shocked” by the news.
The government’s decision in Addis Ababa follows Tuesday’s statement by the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), Martin Griffiths, who said that “the almost three-month blockade of the rebel Tigray de facto limited humanitarian aid deliveries to 10 percent of what is needed to live. in this war-torn region “.
List of undesirable persons
“The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the lists published today (…) considered as undesirable seven people working for various international NGOs in Ethiopia, and their activities were described as interference in the country’s internal affairs” – said the Ministry of Diplomacy. “Letters addressed to each of the seven people listed below indicate that they must all leave Ethiopia within the next 72 hours,” added the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Five of the seven expelled people work for OCHA, the sixth for UNICEF, and the seventh for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is jointly investigating reports of mass killing of civilians, gang rape and other abuses in Tigray with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.
UN Secretary General “shocked”
UN spokeswoman Stephanie Tremblay said the head of the organization, Antonio Guterres, was “shocked” by the news. “We are concerned, but we are working with the Ethiopian government in the hope that we can continue our important mission in the country,” said Tremblay.
As AFP writes, the United Nations has been warning for over three months that around 400,000. the people of Tigray “exceeded the threshold of hunger”.
The Ethiopian authorities also accuse some aid workers in the country of favoring or even arming Tigra forces, according to Reuters, although no evidence has been presented to support these accusations.
Fighting in Ethiopia began in November 2020 after Prime Minister Ahmed Ali sent an army to Tigray to remove the local authorities, selected by the Tigra People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). As a result of the conflict, thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes.
Main photo source: MARTIAL TREZZINI / EPA / PAP