A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (1 October) on the situation in Ethiopia:
The German Government is deeply concerned about the expulsion of seven senior United Nations staff members by the Ethiopian Government on 30 September 2021. According to the information available to the German Government, such action against UN humanitarian agencies is unprecedented. We call on the Ethiopian Government to reverse its decision immediately.
The United Nations provides life-saving humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence with the sole aim of helping people on the ground. The humanitarian situation in the north of the country is disastrous and a famine is spreading.
We support the statement by the UN Secretary-General underlining the UN’s desire to continue providing life-saving assistance under difficult conditions. As one of the largest humanitarian donors, Germany stands firmly at the side of the United Nations. Respect for international humanitarian law and the guarantee of safe, swift and unhindered humanitarian access in Ethiopia are more important than ever before.
The armed conflict in northern Ethiopia, which has been ongoing since November 2020, has caused the most serious humanitarian crisis for a decade. While the United Nations and Germany along with the rest of the international community have been calling for unhampered humanitarian access, the work of humanitarian personnel in the country is very difficult and increasingly dangerous.
On 30 September 2021, the Ethiopian Government declared seven senior UN representatives, including Adele Khodr, who heads UNICEF in Ethiopia, and Grant Leaity, UNOCHA’s Acting Humanitarian Coordinator, to be personae non gratae, thus expelling them from the country.