Oct 23, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

UN Secretary-General to brief today’s Security Council open session on Ethiopia

– The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres is expected to brief the Security Council on the situation in the Tigray region in Ethiopia this afternoon under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa”. The meeting was requested by Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA. A representative of the Ethiopian government is likely to attend.

Today’s meeting is the tenth time that Council members have discussed the situation in Ethiopia since the crisis in the Tigray region began in November 2020. It is the Second council meeting following the announcement by the Ethiopian government on September 30th that seven UN officials from UNICEF, OCHA and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) were declared “persona non grata” and were given 72 hours to visit Ethiopia leaving. The Council discussed this development at a meeting on October 1 under “all other matters”, also at the request of Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom and the US.

It appears that Ireland has proposed that a draft of a press release after 1
October meeting but did not receive the necessary support. the
Declaration would have shocked the council members over the Ethiopian
Government announcement reiterated its expectation of a full
Cooperation between Ethiopia and the United Nations and urged all parties to
enable unhindered humanitarian access. However, it seems that the “A3”
plus one “(Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines),
At one point in time, China and Russia found the statement to be of little help
It took Ethiopia and the United Nations to find a way forward.

Following the announcement by the Ethiopian government, the United Nations got involved
with the Ethiopian authorities to convince them to reverse the decision
to evict the officials. As explained by the deputy spokesman on October 1st
For Secretary General Farhan Haq, the legal position of the UN is as follows:
the doctrine of “persona non grata” applies to “diplomatic agents”.
accredited by one state in another state “and not to UN officials. the
The UN has communicated this position to the Ethiopian authorities, including
by an oral note dated October 1 by the UN Legal Affairs Bureau and
during a same day phone call between Guterres and Ethiopian Prime
Minister Abiy Ahmed. Guterres also addressed a letter to the president
of the Security Council, in which he said that Ethiopia’s decision to
Identifying the seven officers “is another obstacle to reaching”
Ethiopians, at a moment when all efforts should be focused on work
together to save and protect lives, protect human rights and
humanitarian disaster ”. The letter further states that “[a] tries to
Politicizing Humanitarian Aid “undermines United Nations support efforts
the people of Ethiopia.

In a communiqué dated October 1, the Ethiopian government called on the UN to “replace” the seven officials quickly. This request was reiterated in a tweet dated October 4th from Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie. In the communiqué, the Ethiopian government accused the officials of “diverting humanitarian aid” to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and “spreading misinformation and politicizing humanitarian aid”. The UN has denied these allegations, and Haq stressed during a press conference on October 4th that the organization stands by “the neutrality and balance and professionalism” of its employees. At the same press conference, he confirmed that none of the seven officials are currently in Ethiopia, some of whom were already out of the country at the time of the government’s announcement and the rest were “moved out of the country to ensure their safety”. . When asked if the United Nations will replace the civil servants, Haq said, “We believe that the staff that the Secretary-General and the UN Secretariat have sent are the people who are right for the job, and we believe that they are “allowed to go about their work unhindered.”

On October 4th, the British UN ambassador in Geneva, Simon Manley, made a statement on behalf of over 40 countries in which he was shocked by the Ethiopian decision expressed
and requested that it be lifted to allow the officers to return
Ethiopia to continue their work. The statement indicates that the OHCHR
The designated officer was working on the joint investigation of
OHCHR and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission on alleged violations
human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, committed by all parties
on the conflict in Tigray. The joint investigation report is due
by November 1st.

At today’s meeting, Guterres and several members are expected to underscore their grave concerns about the expulsion of the seven UN officials. The meeting is also likely to focus on the deteriorating humanitarian and security conditions in northern Ethiopia. OCHA reported that on October 4th, 5.2 million people in Tigray were in need of food aid, 400,000 of whom are living “in famine-like conditions.” On October 4th, Prime Minister Abiy was sworn in for five new-year-olds Term of office following elections held in June and September. (The elections were reportedly boycotted by some opposition groups and did not take place in Tigray, which is controlled by forces directed against the federal government.) According to media reports, Ahmed pledged in his inaugural address to protect the country from foreign interference. In addition, according to a Sky News article dated October 5, “thousands of soldiers” were observed near the city of Dessie in the northern Ethiopian region of Amhara, raising concerns about an imminent new offensive by the German government.

At today’s meeting, Councilors may stress the need for the government to enter into sustained negotiations on a ceasefire and a political solution to the conflict. They can underline the need for an immediate ceasefire and renew their calls for full humanitarian access.