All sides in Tigray targeting Eritrean refugees – UN

A UN expert has urged all armed groups in Ethiopia’s Tigray region to take steps to protect Eritrean refugees.

Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, the special rapporteur for human rights in Eritrea, said there were credible reports that government forces and their allies as well as the Tigray rebels had committed grave human rights abuses.

“Eritrean refugees have been singled out, targeted and victimised by both sides for their perceived collaboration with the other side in the conflict,” he said.

The UN refugee agency says tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees are currently trapped in the camps in Tigray, which neighbours Eritrea, unable to leave because of increasing insecurity.

They fled political persecution and compulsory military service, long before the current conflict in Tigray began.

Humanitarian teams are not able to reach them because of the war which erupted in November and involves Eritrean troops fighting on the side of the Ethiopian government.

As the fighting spreads to other parts of the country, the UN says an estimated 80,000 refugees are now at risk.

“I am extremely alarmed at reports of reprisal attacks and killings, sexual violence, beatings of Eritrean refugees and looting of camps and property,” said Dr Babiker.

“This violence directed at refugees must stop.”

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