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Eritrea/Ethiopia: More Ethiopians repatriated from Eritrea

30-06-2000 News Release 00/24

1,135 Ethiopian civilians interned in a camp near Asmara (Eritrea) were voluntarily repatriated yesterday under the auspices of the ICRC. They had previously been visited by ICRC delegates, who provided them with material assistance. The operation, which was conducted by teams from the ICRC Asmara and Addis Ababa delegations, was carried out with the agreement and cooperation of the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments.

Meanwhile, the ICRC is continuing to visit other places where Ethiopian civilians are interned in Eritrea. Civilian internees are protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Two other groups of interned Ethiopian civilians are to be repatriated in the coming days. Repatriation operations will then continue for a number of months, enabling several thousand Ethiopians to return to their country of origin if they wish. All these operations should take place at the same crossing point, on the front line between the villages of Adi Quala and Rama.

On 20, 22 and 24 June, similar operations had already been carried out to repatriate 3,500 Ethiopians who had had to flee their homes on the Eritrean side of the border after the upsurge in fighting in mid-May.