The EU and its member states strongly condemn the decision taken by the Government of Ethiopia on 30 September 2021 to expel seven United Nations (UN) officials from the country. The EU stands in full solidarity by the UN, and in particular OCHA, OHCHR and UNICEF directly targeted by the decision, and expresses strong support for their operations in Ethiopia, which are conducted on a neutral and impartial basis.
This decision risks further undermining the possibility to bring relief to millions of Ethiopians in a dire humanitarian situation. This comes at a moment when aid organisations are facing continuous day-to-day impediments to bring aid to people in need in Tigray and other parts of northern Ethiopia. The spill-over beyond Tigray has increased the need of protection and assistance.
International organisations in Ethiopia urgently need a conducive environment which enables them to continue their daily life-saving work. Millions of people, across Ethiopia, rely on their assistance for survival. Humanitarian work is always guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Safeguarding these principles ensures that aid can arrive where it is needed the most.
It is imperative that human rights and humanitarian aid organisations are allowed to do their work without obstruction, across the country. We urge the Government of Ethiopia to reverse their decision without delay. Moreover, we exhort all parties to the conflict to protect humanitarian operations and personnel, as well as grant safe, rapid and unimpeded access, in line with international humanitarian law.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania* and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
*The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.