Relocate Eritrean Refugees from Tigray Region of Ethiopia Now
Updated: Aug 11
Call for a Coalition of Willing African Countries, EU Countries, the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to evacuate Eritrean Refugees from Ethiopia Now
The undersigned organizations respectfully call upon your government to kindly offer resettlement opportunities to the desperate Eritrean refugees from the active war zones in Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara and Tigray). Eritrean refugees fleeing persecution and severe human rights violations in their home country, who are now caught in a life-threatening situation between crossfire and random attacks by armed forces, need your urgent attention. We are writing in response to the UNHCR statement issued on July 13, 2021, in which Mr. Filippo Grandi expressed grave concern about the dire situation of Eritrean refugees in Tigray. In his statement, he emphasized the critical need to provide safety and protection to these refugees who have been re-victimized as a result of the war in Tigray. According to Mr. Grandi, reports of reprisal attacks, abductions, arrests, and violence directed at Eritrean refugees.” Throughout this bloody conflict, we have received credible and corroborated reports of reprisal attacks, abductions, arrests, killings and violence meted out against Eritrean refugees for their perceived affiliation with one side or the other." In the July 27 UNHCR report, “recent armed clashes have also displaced thousands of people in the Afar region that neighbors Tigray to the east and where an additional 55,000 Eritrean refugees are hosted”. There are reports of armed confrontations close to the locations where they are currently residing.
What we are appealing is that Eritrean refugees in the Mai Aini, Adi Harush camps and Afar region be evacuated and relocated to a third country outside of Ethiopia. We have direct contacts with some of these refugees as civil society organizations, and we can provide the necessary information to facilitate any initiatives from your government to ensure the safe evacuation of these refugees from the war zone to safety. We kindly request the following in expeditious manner:
We ask that your government increase the number of Eritrean refugees’ intake from the existing quota and if there was none previously, consider doing so now.
We request that you use your diplomatic leverages on the Ethiopian government and/or the Tigray Regional Government to guarantee the safe evacuation of Eritrean refugees.
As civil society organizations that work with Eritrean communities in the countries where we live, we can serve as a resource pool to identify resources among our communities and coordinate work in the countries where we reside.
As we prepare to send this letter, we have learned some grave concerns we must include in this letter. Firstly, we have been informed that the refugees have run out of basic necessities including food and water. Secondly, there is information coming out of Eritrea, through various sources, indicating a significant military movement towards the state of Tigray in the pretext of rescuing Eritrean refugees in Tigray (the same refugees who run away from Eritrea due to fear of persecution, exploitation and gross violation of human rights). Thirdly, the attack by Tigray militias on Eritrean refugees has increased (see as per the US State Department Press Statement released 2 days ago). Fourthly, the renewed war in Tigray looks inevitable in light of the preparation by the two parties. The information we have on the movement of the Eritrean army towards the war zone, again becomes very worrisome and disturbing.
All of the above developments make the immediate resettlement of the Eritrean refugees in Tigray zone an emergency that requires a rapid response. We hope that you will consider this matter, at a time of great urgency and to save the lives of these refugees.
Letter distributed by the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights on behalf of the following civic organisations and groups with consent
Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa (EDEA)
Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR)
Bay Area Eritreans for Democratic Change
Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans
Surbana Vision Media and Community Services USA
Dankalia Media TV
Red Sea Afar Human Rights Organisation
Eritrean Research Institute for Policy & Strategy (ERIPS)
U.S State Department Press Briefing – July 27, 2021 https://www.state.gov/briefings/department-press-briefing-july-27-2021/
Eritrean refugees in Tigray caught up in conflict Juy 27, 2021. https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2021/7/60ffc4d44/eritrean-refugees-tigray-caught-confli ct.html
News comment: UNHCR latest update on deteriorating situation of Eritrean refugees in Tigray Juy 15, 2021 https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/news/press/2021/7/60f062d04.html
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on the situation of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region July 13, 2021
PS: Image used is from the Internet