For Written Answer on : 11/05/2021
Question Number(s): 384 Question Reference(s): 24126/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the contribution made by Ireland to the global effort to help resolve the current conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I remain deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict in Tigray, which has seen many people killed, injured, and displaced, and which is feeding into instability across the Horn of Africa region.
Notwithstanding some improvement in humanitarian access, the humanitarian situation continues to be concerning, in particular the situation of internally displaced persons. There are allegations of the use of starvation as a weapon of war. I am concerned by attacks on humanitarian workers.
There are multiple, credible and harrowing reports of ongoing human rights violations, including sexual violence, in Tigray. These must cease immediately and perpetrators be held to account. The use of rape as a weapon of war is unconscionable. I strongly support the work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, working with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, to investigate reported atrocities. It is vital that these investigations be credible and transparent, and address the issue of sexual violence.
An immediate ceasefire is the most important step all parties can take. In this regard, it is imperative that Eritrean forces leave Tigray immediately.
Ireland continues to advocate for an effective response to the situation in Tigray, and for a peaceful resolution to the conflict through bilateral engagement, our EU membership and also at the UN Security Council.
Ireland continues to maintain the UN Security Council’s attention on Ethiopia, brokering a press statement on the situation in Tigray on 22 April – the first time the Council has spoken publicly on the crisis. We have also used the opportunities provided by Security Council thematic discussions on conflict and hunger, and on conflict-related sexual violence, to highlight these aspects of the Tigray crisis. We remain actively engaged with other Council Members on further ways to address the crisis.
We continue to support a strong and constructive EU response to the crisis, as underlined by Minister Coveney at the April Foreign Affairs Council.
Minister Coveney also continues to engage on an ongoing basis with a range of key interlocutors on the situation, including in the region, the Gulf, as well as the African Union.
My Department, through the Irish Aid programme, has to date provided over €3.2 million to support the vital humanitarian response in Tigray and the refugee response in neighbouring Sudan, through our trusted UN and NGO partners on the ground.