UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed grave concern over the deepening humanitarian crisis and famine in Ethiopia. Secretary-General Guterres has made it clear that Ethiopia does not have the authority to make such a decision after Ethiopia expelled seven United Nations officials on Friday and banned them from providing humanitarian assistance to the conflict-torn Tigris region. Guterres said the situation could spiral out of control if the humanitarian crisis is not resolved in time.
The government has severely curtailed the supply of food, fuel and other essentials to the Tigris region, seriously affecting human rights and basic human needs in the region, and children are on the verge of starvation.
According to Secretary-General Guterres, 5.2 million people in the region are desperately waiting for humanitarian aid, and 400,000 are starving. The current state of child malnutrition is similar to that of Somalia in 2011. Ethiopia on Friday ordered seven UN officials to leave the country within 72 hours, accusing them of interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Ethiopia’s foreign ministry has accused the officials of violating diplomatic dignity, failing to maintain impartiality and assisting the conflicting parties.
Secretary-General Guterres has informed the UN Security Council that Ethiopia’s latest decision could further complicate the resolution of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. “Establishing lasting peace with the participation of all parties to protect human rights and resolve the growing humanitarian crisis is the only solution to the ongoing problem, but the government’s latest decision has hurt it,” Guterres said.
Despite an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Tigris and the decision to expel seven members of the United Nations, no decision has been taken.
UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haque conveyed a diplomatic note to the UN Mission in Ethiopia, informing Prime Minister Abi Ahmed of the UN’s position on the issue. He made it clear to Prime Minister Abi Ahmed in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday that the United Nations had a “long-standing legal status” and that “persona non grata” did not apply to UN staff.
He said that seeking to impose “personal non-grata” on UN officials was contrary to the obligations under the UN Charter and the privileges and immunity granted to its officials. Huck said the principle of declaring someone a “persona non grata” applies only between one state and another, but not to the United Nations.
If any issue arises on the part of the United Nations staff, the organization must be duly informed and it is the responsibility of the Secretary-General to make the necessary decisions in this regard.
A diplomatic note from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the Ethiopian government, which has also been sent to the Security Council, states that the Secretary-General cannot decide on the conduct of UN officials based on information provided by the Foreign Ministry. In this way, the decision to order the eviction of UN staff has been made unnatural and unreasonable.
The legal office said its staff was not required to leave Ethiopia and called on the United Nations to give them official status and to grant them access to the United Nations and its authorities, including privileges and immunity, in compliance with the government’s legal obligations.
Secretary-General Guterres said he was saddened by Friday’s announcement of Ethiopia’s decision to expel UN staff and was “absolutely confident” that its staff would remain neutral and impartial. Friday’s announcement reminded Ethiopian government of accusations that its allies were helping the rebels against the government, although the United Nations and other aid agencies have denied the allegations.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in mass rapes, mass evictions and attacks and destruction of health centers, killing thousands. Reports have surfaced that Ethiopian troops and neighboring Eritrea are the main culprits and witnesses in such incidents.
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) this week, Martin Griffiths, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said the Ethiopian crisis was a “stain on our conscience” because the United Nations said the government’s blockade was actually starving thousands of children to death. According to Chief Martin, only 10 percent of the required humanitarian assistance has reached the troubled areas, including Tigrei.
Griffiths said: “The release of this comment is one of the strongest criticisms of the world’s worst famine in over a decade. Ethiopia remembers a similar famine in the 1980s that killed nearly a million people and left the world in a state of shock that is still fresh in his mind. We firmly hope that this is not happening now. ”
Citing eyewitnesses and internal documents, the AP released its first death report from the famine last week, which the Ethiopian government imposed in June to create food shortages.
Richard Gowan, the UN director of the International Crisis Group, told the AP: “The United Nations has worked hard to maintain good relations with the Ethiopian government in times of crisis. Some other diplomats, including US officials, feel the United Nations is more concerned about Ethiopia.
But the leadership there and Abby Martin Griffiths are irritated by the idea of his crisis in a recent interview with the AP. Other “serious violations” by UN staff included violations of the security agreement, the transfer of communications equipment to the forces, “dissemination of misinformation and politicization of humanitarian aid,” the foreign ministry said on Friday.
Ethiopian government aid trucks in Tigrei are being directed by rebel forces there. But humanitarian workers say they are scared and short of fuel.
The United Nations, meanwhile, is confident that such incidents will not stop humanitarian aid and that the Ethiopian government is ready to cooperate with the United Nations and its agencies, without compromising Ethiopia’s sovereignty, national security and interests.
Guterres notes that the United Nations and its partners are committed to providing assistance, but that “this is not possible without adequate humanitarian supplies. Fuel is needed to ease the supply and cash is needed to pay the workers.
Secretary-General Guterres said a ceasefire and political dialogue were essential to resolving the issue, adding that any attempt to politicize humanitarian aid would devalue UN efforts and prevent victims from receiving timely relief and justice. Guterres warned that if the situation does not improve immediately, the lives of the Ethiopian people and the stability of the country and the region could be in further crisis.