Eritrean refugees’ plight worsening in Tigray – UN

The United Nations refugee agency has warned the situation in camps housing Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region is rapidly deteriorating.

The UNHCR says conditions have worsened over the past two days as fighting has escalated.

It says the death of at least one Eritrean refugee has been confirmed, adding there are credible reports of arrests, detentions, beatings, looting and sporadic gunfire at two refugee camps in the region.

It comes against a backdrop of eight months of bloody fighting between Tigray rebel forces and Eritrean troops, who are allied to the federal Ethiopian army.

All sides have been accused of committing human rights abuses during the fighting, but these reports indicate civilians are being directly caught up in the conflict too.

The UNHCR says tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees are currently trapped in the camps, unable to leave due to the region’s increasing insecurity, while humanitarian teams cannot reach them.

The UNHCR has urgently called on the Ethiopia federal government and the Tigray regional government to protect the rights of all refugees.

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