The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, on Tuesday called on Ethiopian authorities to provide “urgent” access to reach Eritrean refugees in Tigray region in Northern Ethiopia.
A statement from the UN refugee agency, which quoted UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch, appealed to the Ethiopian federal authorities for “urgent access in order to reach Eritrean refugees in the Tigray region who are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and services.”
“Concerns are growing by the hour,” the statement quoted Baloch as saying.
“The camps will have now run out of food supplies — making hunger and malnutrition a real danger, a warning we have been issuing since the conflict began nearly a month ago,” UNHCR spokesperson said.
The agency, expressing its concern over unconfirmed reports of attacks, abductions and forced recruitment at the refugee camps, “UNHCR strongly reiterates its call for safety and security of refugees. With the current difficulties in communication and security hampering access it is not possible to verify current conditions in the camps.”
“No civilian should become a target, and all possible measures must be taken by all parties to ensure that — be they refugees, the internally displaced, host communities or humanitarian workers — they are all kept out of harm’s way,” the agency said.
Nothing that the East African country has been a hospitable country for Eritrean refugees for almost two decades Ethiopia, the UNHCR expressed its fear the refugees might have caught in the conflict.
“UNHCR appeals to the government of Ethiopia to continue to fulfill its responsibility in hosting and protecting Eritrean refugees and allow humanitarians to access people who are now desperately in need,” it added.
It also reiterated the joint UN call that affirmed the urgent need for “all parties to enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance, including across international and within national borders. We call for the right to seek asylum to be fully respected.”
Since the early hours of November 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front(TPLF).
On Saturday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the “full command” of the Tigray regional state capital, Mekelle, which marked the completion of the military operations.