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Press Release

Ethiopia: IRC statement on the killing of humanitarian aid workers

In light of two recent attacks on humanitarians in Ethiopia, the Humanitarian INGOs (HINGOs) call for the protection of all humanitarian aid workers and civilians to enable assistance to reach all people in need.  

On 24 March in West Wellega, a GOAL vehicle was attacked, and the driver killed by unknown armed actors. On 23 March in Tigray, a driver with the independent medical agency Doctors Without Borders was beaten and their team witnessed extrajudicial killings of civilians by armed forces.

In both cases, the vehicles were clearly marked as belonging to humanitarian, non-governmental agencies. Both agencies provide life-saving nutrition and health care to crisis-affected men, women, and children across Ethiopia.

In the last year, seven humanitarian aid workers in Ethiopia have been killed by armed actors. 

The HINGOs are principled humanitarian actors and work with the consent of the Ethiopian government and abide by the laws of the country. Our 54 members serve people in need regardless of ethnicity, politics, or religion.

In 2019, the HINGOs reached over 28 million people in need with life-saving assistance and essential services across the country. The HINGOs employ over 13,000 Ethiopian staff and fewer than 1% of HINGO staff are internationals.

The HINGOs strongly condemn the attacks and killings of humanitarian staff and civilians. We call on all armed actors to uphold Ethiopian and international humanitarian law. These attacks and killings must be fully investigated and those responsible should be held accountable in accordance with Ethiopian law.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.