United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the Ethiopian government to allow the world body help millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
“The United Nations will continue to play its mandated role and work with the government of Ethiopia and with local and international partners to support millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, and across the country, in full accordance with the UN Charter and General Assembly resolution 46/182,”, he said.
He was speaking at the Security Council on the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
“I call on Ethiopian authorities to allow us to do this without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work with the urgency that this situation demands,” said the Secretary-General.
The top UN official said “this means ensuring that visas for incoming personnel – from UN entities and from our partners — are issued quickly so that we can augment our capacity.”
“It also means that personnel inside the country are treated with dignity and respect as they carry out their vital work,” he said, adding that “the delays we have witnessed in the recent past are another obstacle to effective humanitarian aid.”
According to the UN chief, up to 7 million people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar are now in need of food assistance and other emergency support. This includes more than 5 million people in Tigray where an estimated 400,000 people are “living in famine-like conditions.”
“We must save lives and restore livelihoods,” the Secretary-General said.
“I urge the government to allow the unrestricted movement of desperately needed fuel, cash, communications equipment, and humanitarian supplies into regions in need,” said Guterres.
“I appeal to all members of the Security Council to do all they can to support these calls and to unify behind the efforts of the United Nations and its partners in Ethiopia.”
Guterres recalled his remarks to the Council last August that “all parties must immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize that opportunity to negotiate a lasting ceasefire. Foreign forces should leave the country. Unrestricted humanitarian access to all areas in need must be guaranteed and humanitarian workers must be respected. Public services must be re-established.”