Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
392. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland will take an initiative at the United Nations Security Council to place the issue of Ethiopia on the formal agenda of the Council given the ongoing slow genocide unfolding in Ethiopia; if he has had contact with the Ethiopian authorities in relation to the provision of humanitarian aid to those in urgent need of food and medical assistance; the efforts that are being made by the International community to investigate allegations of war crimes by all in the conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22638/22]
Ireland has played a leading role in the international response to the crisis in Ethiopia, at the UN Security Council, through our bilateral engagements, and within the European Union.
Since taking up our seat in January 2021, Ireland has been to the fore of the Security Council’s efforts to address the crisis in Ethiopia. We believe that the Security Council has an important role to play, given the impact on national and regional peace and security. Since the conflict began in November 2020, there have been 14 meetings of the Council on Ethiopia. Ireland has played a leading role on the Council, particularly in negotiating statements that, despite difficult dynamics, have achieved unanimous support in calling for unhindered humanitarian access, a ceasefire and a national dialogue. Ireland has also repeatedly raised the need for accountability for the widespread human rights abuses and atrocities that have been committed by all sides in the conflict.
Ethiopia was most recently discussed at the Security Council on 14 April, when the focus was on the humanitarian situation. At that meeting, Ireland called for immediate implementation of the recently agreed humanitarian truce, and delivery of humanitarian assistance to those most in need.
Putting Ethiopia on the formal agenda of the Council would require support around the table, and the reality is that some current members of the Council do not want this. Despite these challenges, responding to the acute humanitarian crisis in Tigray and Ethiopia more generally will remain an urgent priority for Ireland during our term on the Council and beyond.
Minister Coveney continues to engage on the situation in Ethiopia with key interlocutors in the region including African Union Special Envoy Obasanjo. Minister Coveney also met with Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen in February, and stressed the need for full humanitarian access and an end to hostilities; restoration of basic services; and political dialogue. We continue to advocate for an effective response to the situation through a full range of regular and ongoing contacts with Ethiopia, including in Addis Ababa, the Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, as well as in EU forums in Brussels.
The publication on 3 November of the findings of the joint investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Tigray was a vital first step towards accountability. I look forward to full implementation of the report’s recommendations and progress on investigations. Ireland also supports the decision of the Human Rights Council in December to establish an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia and welcomes the recent appointment of the members of the Commission.