from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE killing of three Eritrean refugees, including two children, at a refugee camp is a grim reminder of these disadvantaged members of society bearing the brunt of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.
Four others were injured in an airstrike that hit the Mai Aini refugee camp in the troubled Tigray region on Wednesday.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), expressed sadness at the deadly attack.
“My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of those lost in this attack,” the envoy said.
Grandi added, “Refugees are not and should never be a target.”
While UNHCR continues to gather and corroborate details on the events, he reiterated the UN refugee agency’s call on all parties to the conflict to respect the rights of all civilians, including refugees.
“Refugee settlements must always be protected, in line with their international legal obligations,” Grandi said.
The Mai Aini refugee camp was established in 2008 to accommodate Eritrean refugees seeking international protection.
Late in 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Eritrean government forces and Tigrayan militias had killed, raped and committed other grave abuses against Eritrean refugees in Tigray.
The violations were documented between November 2020 and January 2021 when Eritrean and Tigrayan forces alternatively occupied refugee camps that housed thousands of the refugees.
Fighting broke out in mid-July 2021 in Mai Aini and Adi Harush, the other functioning refugee camp.
As of October 2020, a time Tigray descended into war after a fallout between the regional administration and federal government, Ethiopia hosted around 149 000 registered Eritrean refugees.
– CAJ News