Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on obstruction of UNICEF humanitarian action in Mekele, Ethiopia

28 June 2021

NEW YORK, 28 June 2021 — “Members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces entered our office in Mekele, Tigray, Ethiopia today and dismantled our VSAT equipment.

“This act violates UN privileges and immunities and the rules of International Humanitarian Law regarding respect for humanitarian relief objects. I condemn this action in the strongest terms.

“UNICEF’s priority in Tigray, and across Ethiopia, is to help the most vulnerable children, including the 140,000 children already facing famine-like conditions. We are not, and should never be, a target.

“I ask all parties to the conflict in Tigray to abide by the rules of war and to respect and protect humanitarian agencies. Parties to conflict must not search, confiscate or interfere with humanitarian relief operations, must allow access to the populations in need, and must protect children at all times.”  

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