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Eritrea/Ethiopia: 160 Ethiopian civilians and 10 Eritrean civilians repatriated

25-02-2005 News Release 05/19

On 25 February 2005, 160 Ethiopian civilians were repatriated from Eritrea to Ethiopia under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In the same operation, 10 Eritrean civilians were repatriated from Ethiopia to Eritrea. The groups crossed the border at the Mereb River bridge, located between the towns of Adi Quala in Eritrea and Rama in Ethiopia. Amongst those repatriated were 7 unaccompanied minors and 1 medical case, who could join their families in Ethiopia and 5 unaccompanied minors and 1 elderly persons who could join their families in Eritrea.

Acting in its capacity as a neutral and independent intermediary, the ICRC carried out this repatriation with the cooperation of the authorities. ICRC delegates based in Eritrea, and an ambulance team of the Eritrean Red Cross accompanied the Ethiopian civilians on the first part of their journey, from Asmara, Eritrea's capital, to the border. They provided food, water and medical assistance, and helped to transport the luggage. At the crossing point at Mereb River, the group was met by ICRC delegates based in Ethiopia, before being placed in the care of the Ethiopian authorities. Likewise, ICRC delegates based in Ethiopia accompanied the Eritrean civilians to the border where the group was met by ICRC delegates based in Eritrea, before being placed in the care of the Eritrean authorities.

The ICRC assists people affected by the recent armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea regarding their repatriation since June 2000, and strives to ensure compliance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, in particular, the Geneva Conventions.

 For further information please contact:  

 Marcus Dolder, ICRC Asmara, tel. : +2911 181 164  

 Anna Schaff, ICRC Addis Ababa, tel. + 2511 518 366