Statement by Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance Luise Amtsberg on the recent drone attacks in Ethiopia
I was shocked by reports of drone attacks on refugee camps in Ethiopia last week, in which numerous civilians were killed. One of the drone strikes was on a camp for internally displaced persons and claimed the lives of 56 people. These attacks not only cause terrible suffering, but also harm prospects for a resolution of the conflict.
All parties to the conflict must under all circumstances respect human rights and uphold applicable international law, in particular international humanitarian law, and avoid civilian casualties as well as displacement and forced migration. Humanitarian organisations must have unhindered access to people in need.
Since November of 2020, the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been engaged in a bloody conflict in the north of the country.
A large number of eyewitnesses and international organisations have reported severe human rights abuses. On 3 November 2021, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) published a joint report, and subsequently the Human Rights Council on 17 December 2021 established a commission of international human rights experts to further investigate human rights violations in Ethiopia.
According to United Nations estimates, 9.4 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions of northern Ethiopia. In 2021, Germany increased its humanitarian assistance to approximately 62 million euro, or nearly twice the level of the previous year (2020: 33.3 million euro). The funds are used by, among others, the United Nations’ humanitarian organisations such as the World Food Programme to deliver urgently needed food aid to the region affected by the crisis and to meet the needs of internally displaced persons.