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Eritrea: Ethiopia

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL14842, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of (1) Eritre, and (2) Ethiopia, about attacks in the town of Axum in which hundreds of civilians are reported to have been killed.

Answered on

26 April 2021

We are deeply concerned at the mounting evidence of human rights abuses and violations in Ethiopia's Tigray region. 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 - we have done this both in public statements and in engagements with the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Foreign Secretary raised with Prime Minister Abiy during his visit to the region earlier this year. The Minister for Africa spoke to the Eritrean Ambassador to the in March, and the British Ambassador in Asmara continues to raise concerns - most recently on 15 April with the Eritrean Foreign Minister. The Minister for Africa made specific reference to the reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the human rights violations of civilians in Axum, Ethiopia in his tweet of 26 February.

Eritrea's role in the conflict is particularly concerning; there are numerous reports of atrocities involving Eritrean forces, and the presence of Eritrean forces is fuelling insecurity. These forces must leave Ethiopia immediately, in line with the commitment made by Prime Minister Abiy on 26 March. We also note PM Abiy's statement on 23 March that the perpetrators of human rights atrocities should face justice - whoever they are. We need to see action now to stop further atrocities and to allow for the independent investigation of those that have occurred. In a joint statement on Ethiopia with 41 other countries at the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of 26 February we condemned in the strongest terms the reported killings of civilians. The G7 Statement of 2 April made clear that independent, transparent and impartial investigation is essential and that those responsible for human rights atrocities must be held to account.