News comment: UNHCR latest update on deteriorating situation of Eritrean refugees in Tigray

This news comment is attributable to Ann Encontre, UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia

The situation in the Mai Aini and Adi Harush Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has further and rapidly deteriorated with the escalation of fighting in the area over the last two days

At least one Eritrean refugee death has been confirmed, with credible reports of arrests, detentions, beatings, looting, and sporadic gunfire. Tens of thousands of refugees, fearful for their lives, are currently trapped and unable to move due to the insecurity and ongoing movement of troops in the area. UNHCR staff on the ground, as well as other humanitarian partners, are now unable to reach the camps to assist refugees. 

We urgently call on both the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Regional Government to uphold their obligations under international law including respecting the civilian character of refugee camps, and the rights of refugees and all civilians to be protected from hostilities.