Ethiopia: Breaking - UNSC Calls for Scaled Up, Unfettered Humanitarian Access in Tigray - Expresses Deep Concern On Rights Abuse, Sexual Violence Reports

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region (file image).

Addis Abeba — As part of a continuation of the UNSC meeting held on April 15 at a closed door meeting at the request of the US under Any other Business (AOB), members of the SC reached at a consensus and issued a statement calling for "a scaled up humanitarian response and unfettered humanitarian access to all people in need, including in the context of the food security situation." in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray regional state.

The SC members said they "acknowledged the efforts by the Government of Ethiopia to provide humanitarian assistance and to provide increased humanitarian access" but said "humanitarian challenges remain."

"The members of the Security Council call for continuation of international relief efforts in a manner consistent with the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance, including humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence."

"The members of the Security Council noted that insecurity in Tigray constitutes an impediment to the ongoing humanitarian operations and called for a restoration of normalcy," the statement said.

Expressing "deep concern" about allegations of human rights violations and abuses, "including reports of sexual violence against women and girls," the members of the SC "called for investigations to find those responsible and bring them to justice."

"They welcomed the joint investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into alleged human rights violations and abuses. The members of the Security Council also welcomed the engagement on this issue of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights."

During the meeting on April 15, Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, delivered a grim assessment on the humanitarian crisis in Tigray in which he revealed that "the humanitarian situation in Tigray has deteriorated."

Mr. Lowcock also told the UNSC that more than 150 people died from hunger in Ofla Wereda, south of Mekelle. He warned that the report "should alarm us all" and that it was "a sign of what lies ahead if more action is not taken. Starvation as a weapon of war is a violation."

However, the meeting ended without a statement for lack of consensus, similar to the four previous meetings under AOB by the members of the SC.

Today's statement came in the wake of increasing numbers of alarming reports of the worsening humanitarian situation in Tigray including the latest report by the UNICEF which stated that "the crisis in Tigray has entered its sixth month with no clear end in sight." AS

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