Addis Abeba — In a statement published on Ethiopia Fact Check today, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's Agency for Civil Society announced the temporary suspension of MSF Holland, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Al-Maktoume humanitarian operations in Ethiopia.
The statement accused MSF Holland and the Norwegian Refugee Council of disseminating misinformation on social media and other platforms outside of the mandate and purpose for which the organizations were permitted to operate, employing foreign nationals without the appropriate work permit from the Ethiopian government for more than six months, illegally importing and using satellite radio equipment which was not authorized by the relevant authority. The empolyees were thus apprehended by the security forces for using the equipment for illegal purposes.
It also claimed that Al-Maktoume Foundation failed to comply with the Ministry of Education's COVID-19 guidelines, to manage its budget and accused it of misusing its budget in the name of the school, and problems with staff management.
The statement explained, "Despite repeated discussions with the executives of all the three organizations, they were unable to fix the situation. The Agency for Civil Society Organizations stated that the activities of the organizations have been suspended for three months in accordance with Article 77(4) of Proclamation No. 1113/2011 until a final decision is made."
Addis Standard repeated attempts to reach the Norwegian Refugee council and Al-Maktoume Foundation offices in Addis Abeba for comments on the suspension were unsuccessful. However, MSF Holland responded to emails by Addis Standard.
The NGO explained, "We are in the process of urgently seeking clarification from the authorities around the reasons and details for this suspension. Access to healthcare in these regions is already limited, and the impact of a further reduction in services because of a suspension will have dire consequences for the people we are assisting, including Ethiopian citizens and refugee communities hosted by Ethiopia."
The NGO disclosed to Addis Standard its plans to engage the federal government in relation to this matter, it said, "We continue to engage in dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia to resolve any concerns related to MSF activities, so people in desperate need of medical and humanitarian assistance can receive it." AS
Editor's Note: The article was edited to include comments by MSF Holland.