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Tigray: Armed Conflict

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL1587, tabled on 29 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that soldiers from Eritrea are using food as a weapon of war in Tigray.

Answered on

13 July 2021

The Government is deeply concerned about the grave humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and combatants, including Eritrean armed forces, denying access to humanitarian agencies. Over 350,000 people are assessed to be in famine-like conditions - more than anywhere else in the world. The UK's Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer visited Tigray in May and concluded that region-wide famine in Tigray is now likely if conflict intensifies and impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid continue. The head of the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, has said that the humanitarian disaster is due in part to the presence of Eritrean forces. He says they are using hunger as a weapon of war and their continued presence is fuelling insecurity. Intentional use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime.

We need to see the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces. The Government of Ethiopia has said this will happen, but it has not. We continue to press hard for this commitment to be delivered. The Minister for Africa made this clear when he met with the Eritrean Ambassador on 16 March.