Procedure : 2021/2902(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0484/2021

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 05/10/2021 - 13
CRE 05/10/2021 - 13

Votes :

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the humanitarian situation in Tigray</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Mick Wallace</Depute>

<Commission>{The Left}on behalf of The Left Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0484/2021


European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Tigray


The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Ethiopia,

 having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

 having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

 having regard to the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia adopted on 8 December 1994, and in particular the provisions of Chapter III on fundamental rights and freedoms, human rights and democratic rights,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Geneva Convention of 1951 and its Additional Protocol,

 having regard to the statements of 13 November by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Ethiopia,

 having regard to the statement of 9 November 2020 by HR/VP Josep Borrell on the latest developments on Ethiopia and the statement of 12 November 2020, by HR/VP Josep Borrell and Commissioner Janez Lenarčič on Ethiopia,

 having regard to the statement of 19 November 2020 by Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management on the ‘Tigray conflict: EU humanitarian support to Ethiopian refugees reaching Sudan’,

 having regard to the statement of the UN Secretary-General on 4 November 2020,

 having regard to the statement of 6 and 13 November 2020 by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tigray,

 having regard to the informal talks of 24 November 2020 in the UN Security Council on the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region,

 having regard to the situation report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Ethiopia, released on 11 November 2020,

 having regard to the statement of 9 November 2020 by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat on Ethiopia,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 4 November 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, declared a state of emergency and launched military operations in the northern Tigray regional state; whereas since then, there have been armed confrontations between federal forces (Federal Army, Amhara Region’s Special Force Police and Amhara local militia) on one side and the Tigray regional forces (Tigray Special Force Police and militia) loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), on the other side;

B. whereas the fights have caused thousands of deaths and injuries on both sides and grave Human Rights violations and violations on International Humanitarian Law; whereas, according to the UNHCR, there are 96 000 Eritrean refugees and 650 000 internally displaced people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and up to 120 000 Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan; whereas the UN warned of a ‘large-scale humanitarian crisis’; whereas UNHCR has asked the two parties to the conflict to open corridors to allow people to leave and supplies to arrive at the same time;

C. whereas since the start of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020, access to real-time information has been hampered by government-imposed restrictions, including on telephone and internet services;

D. whereas there are reports of physical and digital surveillance, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, and job suspensions of ethnic Tigrayans and Tigrinya speakers across the country; whereas the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that a justified risk/threat of fear of ethnic profiling and discrimination has arisen in the country;

E. whereas peace in Ethiopia is essential for the stability of this region; whereas UN Secretary General António Guterres said that ‘stability in Ethiopia is important for the entire Horn of Africa region’ and urged an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution of the conflict;

F. whereas the current conflict comes after years of tense relations between the federal and Tigray’s regional authorities; whereas the differences deepened in September when TPLF-led regional government decided to hold regional elections, even though the National Election Board had decided to postpone national and regional elections because of the COVID-19; whereas federal’s government did not recognise the legitimacy of the Tigray elections, cut relations and froze the federal budgets;

G. whereas even before the fighting began, there were 15.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, 2 million of them in Tigray region; whereas the Tigray region is the 5th most populated region in Ethiopia with over 6 million people and is home to 100 000 internally displaced people and 96 000 Eritrean refugees, whereas it has several important refugee camps where, according to NGOs, 44 % of those living there are children;

H. whereas since Ethiopian federal government forces pulled out of much of the Tigray region on 28 July 2021, government forces and their allies have imposed what has been defined as a de facto blockade on the region and the main accesses in Afar Amhara are heavily militarised;

I. whereas of 23 September, less than 11 percent of the trucks needed to bring food, non-food items such as medicines, and fuel have entered Tigray at a time when 5.2 million people are in need of assistance; whereas on 11 September medical supplies on a European Union airbridge flight were removed following government inspection;

J. whereas the UN reported on 26 August that electricity had been partially restored in urban areas, but most of the region is still without electricity;

K. whereas there are widespread reports of Ethiopian forces and their allies have allegedly committed widespread killings of civilians, including mass killings;

L. whereas there are reports of alleged widespread rape and other sexual violence of women and girls that have characterised the conflict in Tigray;

M. whereas UN reports underscored that Amhara regional forces and official and ad hoc militias in the western Tigray zone forcibly displaced Tigrayans through an array of abuses including killings, mass arrests, torture and ill-treatment, sexual violence, and pillage of crops, livestock, and property;

N. whereas Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara forces have looted property and livestock, burned crops, and attacked factories, hospitals, and other infrastructure key to people’s survival;

O. whereas throughout the conflict humanitarian workers have been threatened and attacked; whereas the UN reported that 23 aid workers have been killed since November, including three Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) staff killed in late June;

P. whereas according to the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, Ethiopia’s Tigray region is facing the world’s worst hunger crisis, with 5.2 million people requiring food aid and with 400 000 people living in famine‑like conditions;

1. Expresses its deepest concern about the current ongoing conflict in Tigray that has claimed the lives of thousands of people and that has forced thousands others to flee to neighbouring Sudan; deplores the current armed conflict between the federal government of Ethiopia and the regional administration of Tigray, led by TPLF; calls for an end to hostilities and strongly condemns, and deplores the loss of life in attacks carried out by belligerent parties;

2. Urges the Ethiopian Government and all parties involved in the conflict to immediately agree to a ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian assistance to all populations in need; calls on conflict parties to engage in a sincere, peaceful and inclusive dialogue which is the only way to find a lasting solution to the question of regional autonomy and the unity of the country; regrets in this sense that Ethiopian Prime Minister has rejected peace talks proposed by the African Union;

3. Recalls that deliberate attacks against civilians are strictly prohibited and constitute war crimes according to international humanitarian law; calls on forces on both sides to respect international human rights and international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of people in affected areas;

4. Calls on Ethiopian federal authorities to conduct a thorough, independent, effective and impartial investigation into any and all the alleged killings and human rights violations, including use of excessive force, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances and calls upon the Tigrayan authorities to cooperate on these investigations; calls on all Ethiopian authorities to actively combat impunity;

5. Deplores the fact that currently access for humanitarian workers is severely restricted; calls on the Ethiopian Government to give humanitarian organisations immediate and unrestricted access to the areas where there is conflict, in order to ensure humanitarian aid ending what the United Nations has described as a ‘de facto blockade’ on humanitarian assistance and critical supplies, including food, medicine and fuel;

6. Reiterates that the Ethiopian government bears the primary responsibility to meet the needs of people on its territory and the Tigray regional authorities are also responsible for addressing the needs of people under their effective control; calls on federal and regional authorities to immediately lift all communications restrictions including phone and internet access in Tigray as an act of accountability and transparency for its military operations in the region and in accordance with the right to freedom to expression; calls on the Norwegian Nobel Committee to rescind the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in 2019;

7. Emphasises the urgency of ensuring the protection for the refugees and humanitarian access and safe corridors, given the reports of potential human rights violations on both sides and contravention of international humanitarian law; urges federal and regional authorities to allow immediate access to humanitarian organisations and human rights monitors in Tigray;

8. Calls on all actors to take any necessary action to ensure that this conflict does not lead to possible destabilisation of Ethiopia and the wider region; in this sense, calls on the external actors to not interfere in and to remove themselves from the conflict; calls for an inter-Ethiopian dialogue to prevent escalation in other regions; expresses concern on the reports of armed drones from the United Arab Emirates supporting the Ethiopian campaign from an Eritrean air base of Assab;

9. Urges the Council to adopt an arms embargo halting the transfer and sale of arms and all other military equipment to Ethiopia and Eritrea; calls on the EU Member States to ask the UN Security Council to address the situation in Tigray and to add it to its agenda; urges the Member States of the EU to press the UNSC to hold regular public meetings on Tigray;

10. Urges EU Member States to encourage the High Commissioner to hold an inter-sessional briefing at the UN Human Rights Council on Tigray before the year’s end to present the findings of the report of the OHCHR-Ethiopian Human Rights Commission joint investigation; stresses that the joint investigation should help to lay the foundation for a robust international investigative mechanism to be established by the UN Human Rights Council as a matter of urgency;

11. Urges federal authorities to end the practice of arbitrarily arresting, surveilling or otherwise targeting ethnic groups; underlines that ethnically motivated attacks and reportedly ethnic profiling of citizens heightened the risk of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity such as it has been highlighted by UN senior officials; calls on the Ethiopian authorities to take strong measures towards any ethnic profiling and ensure the protection of ethnic minorities across the country;

12. Considers that respect for the rights of all minorities in Ethiopia and the participation of all groups in the political life of the country is the only way to guarantee and preserve the country’s multicultural roots;

13. Deplores the use of hate speech by public figures and government officials that may stoke violence, intimidation, and discrimination against Tigrayan communities, and urge national, local, and regional authorities to refrain from engaging in incitement to violence against same communities, both offline and off;

14. Condemns the structural adjustment plans carried out by the IMF and the World Bank and the ‘conditions’ attached to the loans granted by those institutions to Ethiopia; notes that they require, the delegation of increasing proportions of development policy to the private sector and the liberalisation/privatisation of several national sectors, particularly in the fields of telecommunications, banking/insurance and logistics;

15. Calls on the EU and its Member States to urgently mobilise additional resources for humanitarian aid to address the new needs and the hunger emergency in Tigray as a result of the conflict; calls for EU and Member States’ aid to be provided in the form of grants and not loans so as not to increase the debt burden; regrets that many EU Member States have not yet reached the target of 0.7 % of their GDP and that some have reduced their share of development and humanitarian aid; recalls that development aid should not be used for migration control, policies, including readmission;

16. Underlines that this conflict is going to deteriorate the situation of refugees in the region, especially those who are most vulnerable; calls in this sense on the EU and all its Member States to step up resettlement from the region, provide humanitarian visas to those at risk and facilitate family reunification; calls on the EU and its Member States to ensure effective access to international protection in the EU and ensure the respect of the fundamental rights of persons seeking international protection in accordance with EU and international law;

17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Federal Government and House of Federation of Ethiopia, the African Union, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.


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