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Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL14675, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current situation in Tigray; and what reports they have received about (1) human rights atrocities, (2) levels of starvation, (3) the number of displaced people and refugees, and (4) fighting, in that region.

Answered on

26 April 2021

The humanitarian situation in Tigray is dire, basic services have collapsed and the humanitarian response is hampered by poor security and access. There are credible reports of atrocities committed by all parties to the conflict, including harrowing reports of mass killings and rape. A joint humanitarian and political team from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa visited Tigray on on 4-5 March and 4-7 April. They met with the provisional administration of Tigray, the Mayor of Mekelle, the Interim Head of Administration in Shire and with humanitarian agencies working in the region. They spoke directly to people displaced by violence and heard harrowing accounts of human rights violations. The team also saw UKAid work in action and learned of the challenges across Tigray.

We will hold Prime Minister Abiy to his statement on 23 March that the perpetrators of human rights atrocities should face justice - whoever they are. Further atrocities including sexual and gender-based violence must stop and an independent investigation of those that have occurred must take place. The UK will support the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights' planned investigations.

Since the conflict started, the UK has consistently called for an end to fighting, and for all parties to the conflict to prioritise the protection of civilians. The conflict in Tigray has had significant consequences and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, over 70,000 moving into Sudan, as well as impacting those that were already in need of humanitarian assistance. Currently 4.5 million are in need of food aid. I made clear the dire humanitarian situation in the UNSC Open Debate on Conflict and Food Security on 11 March. To date the UK has provided £19 million of badly needed support to people in Tigray -to deliver critical food aid, safe drinking water, sanitation and nutritional supplies and medical care. We continue to call for a de-escalation and a long-term political solution. A sustainable political solution is required to resolve the crisis.