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Ethiopia / Eritrea: ICRC repatriates Ethiopians from Eritrea

15-02-2001 News Release 01/06

On 9 February some 570 people of Ethiopian origin were repatriated from Eritrea under ICRC auspices. The operation, in which the ICRC acted in its capacity as a neutral and independent intermediary, took place between the border towns of Adi Quala and Rama at a crossing point on the Mereb river.

Most of the returnees were families from Asmara. After expressing their wish to go back to Ethiopia, they were transferred to the border under the supervision of ICRC delegates based in Eritrea and with the help of the Eritrean Red Cross. A team of ICRC delegates based in Ethiopia met them on the other side and, with the aid of the Ethiopian Red Cross, provided them with assistance before handing them over to the authorities.

A similar operation for 873 persons took place on 3 February 2001. Since early December last year, four other operations have been carried out in which more than 5,110 Ethiopian civilians, mainly former internees, were repatriated under ICRC auspices.

The ICRC will continue to assist people affected by the international armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and make efforts to ensure that the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the 1949 Geneva Conventions, are respected and applied.