Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has strongly condemned the decision by the Ethiopian government to expel seven UN officials from the country, who it has accused of ‘meddling’.
The Wicklow TD said:
“What is happening in the Tigray region of Ethiopia is an outrage.
“The population of Tigray have been murdered, starved, sexually abused, and displaced by Eritrean and Ethiopian military forces for months, with little in the way of a substantive response from the international community.
“This week, the UN issued a warning that an Ethiopian government blockade of aid has resulted in forcing hundreds of thousands of Tigray citizens into famine.
“UN officials believe that because of the three-month blockade a mere 10% of critically needed humanitarian supplies are getting through to those in need on the ground.
“The response of the Ethiopian government – the expulsion of seven UN officials.
“The seven UN personnel to be expelled include the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for Ethiopia, and the head of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and four of their colleagues.
“The seventh UN official to be expelled, is working with the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights to conduct an investigation into the mass murder of civilians, gang rapes and other human rights abuses in Tigray.
“The Ethiopian government had previously closed the operations of Medicines Sans Frontiers, and the Norwegian Refugee Council in August.
“The Ethiopian government have instituted a systematic campaign of obstruction design to prevent urgently needed humanitarian aid to Tigray.
“They are waging a campaign against children that has resulted in a quarter of the children in Tigray being left malnourished.
Teachta Brady concluded:
“Twenty-three aid workers have already been killed in Tigray. How many more must die?
“How many more Tigray Citizens must face mass executions, gang rapes, famine and more before the international community act?
“I have questioned the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on what Ireland can do through our role of the UN Security Council and the EU.
“And while the Minister acknowledges the human rights abuses that are taking place in Tigray, and the importance of the role of the international community in bringing an end to the violence – not enough is being done.
“If Ireland’s role on the UN Security Council is to mean anything at all, we as a country need to move to place this humanitarian crisis at the very heart of the Council’s deliberations.
“The EU will discuss the crisis later this month. The EU must act, it must be seen to act, it must demonstrate that that the values that the EU espouse to hold actually mean something.”