Following the drone attack on the Tigray region of Dedebit on January 7th, 2022, United Nations secretary-general António Guterres released a statement through his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. Guterres calls for an end to the deadly conflict that has continued to rage on in northern Ethiopia.
In response to the news that 50 civilians have either been killed or injured due to the airstrike, Guterres expresses deep concern about how the war will impact Ethiopian civilians. Furthermore, he gives condolences to those who have lost or have hurt loved ones or are victims themselves.
Guterres further informs the public that the UN and their humanitarian partners are working to provide emergency assistance regardless of the fuel, cash and supply shortages throughout the Tigray region. Guterres reiterates his call for a swift end to the conflict between both nations. He again requests all those involved in the war to comply with international humanitarian laws by allowing humanitarian access to civilians to ensure their protection and livelihood.
To summarize Guterres’s statement, following the airstrike in Dedebit, the UN and their humanitarian partners are working together to ensure that emergency assistance is available in Dedebit. However, they are experiencing problems mobilizing emergency assets due to the Tigray regions’ fuel, cash, and supply shortages.
This statement follows another released on January 9th, where the UN’s children’s fund (UNICEF) conveyed their shock and outrage over the recent airstrikes that took place on both the 5th and 7th. Furthermore, they express their concerns for children and their families as they announce that they assert that Ethiopian soldiers and their allies “adhere to international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, to facilitate humanitarian access and to protect children from harm.”
Both UNICEF and Guterres’s calls to action reflect the continued conflict in the northern region of Ethiopia. Furthermore, the renewal of their previous call to all the parties involved in the civil war to cease fire and hostility reflects the UN’s calls to peace in the Tigray region.
In conclusion, the situation in northern Ethiopia continues to remain violent. However, the UN continues to call for a ceasefire in the region. As a response to the recent airstrikes on the Tigray region, Guterres—as the acting UN secretary-general—urges all parties to end the war. Additionally, he reminds all parties to allow humanitarian aid in the Tigray region—specifically, Dedebit—as it is their obligation to do so under humanitarian law. Still, humanitarian aid continues to be challenging to provide as there are fuel, cash and supply shortages in the Northern Ethiopia region.
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