Ethiopia: 'The Govt Themselves Don't Have a Clear Picture' - EU Envoy on Tigray Conflict

A family displaced from Tigray's western zone who received emergency nutrition from Unicef.
24 February 2021

Finland's foreign minister Pekka Haavisto has warned of a "new refugee drama" in the EU after visiting the Um Rakuba refugee camp in Sudan, near the Ethiopian border. Hundreds of people displaced by the Tigray region conflict are fleeing to Sudan. Haavisto was not able to go to Tigray during his visit to Ethiopia.

Sudan is struggling with the 60,000 Ethiopians at the camp, Haavisto, who visited in his role as EU envoy, told AFP.

"You have come to a situation which is militarily and human rights-wise, humanitarian-wise very out of control," he said.

"This operation has lasted more than three months and we do not see an end to it," he added, referring to the Ethiopian government's military operation against the Tigray People's Liberation Force (TPLF).

Haavisto urged the Ethiopian government to allow aid workers and monitors go to Tigray, as reports of civilian massacres and sexual violence increase.

Haavisto said he did not receive a "clear answer" about Ethiopian troops, some of whom have been accused of violence against civilians.

"My picture was that even the government themselves don't have a clear picture, particularly [in] areas controlled by Eritreans... This is the problem: that the picture, even in Addis Ababa, on what has happened, is missing," Haavisto said to AFP.

"In the public domain [in Ethiopia], there's still also some kind of denial of the magnitude of the problems," he said.

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