The ICRC in Eritrea
The ICRC opened its delegation in Eritrea in 1998 and worked throughout the 1998 – 2000 conflict with Ethiopia to protect and assist people directly affected by the war. After the end of the war in 2000, the ICRC remained in the country to address the consequences of the conflict. This includes restoring family links, providing water supplies, treating livestock, tractor ploughing, distributing farming tools, promoting international humanitarian law and the movement's fundamental principles, and strengthening the Eritrean Red Cross Society.
The ICRC opened a delegation in Eritrea in 1998 to respond to humanitarian needs arising from the three-year war (1998 – 2000) between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The ICRC in collaboration with the authorities initiated projects to provide an adequate water supply to communities affected by the consequences of the war in the regions of Gash Barka and Southern Red Sea.
The ICRC supports communities in the areas on the border with Ethiopia, the most affected by the conflict, to become self-sufficient by strengthening their productive means. The focus has been on projects aimed at enabling residents, returnees and resettled people to regain a sustainable livelihood. This includes providing tractor ploughing, livestock anti-parasite treatments, foot pumps and vegetable seeds.
In addition, the ICRC provides financial assistance for vulnerable members of the Ethiopian minority who were unable to obtain or renew their Eritrean residence permit due to lack of means.
With the Ethiopia-Eritrea border still closed and no cross-border telecommunication and postal services, the ICRC together with the Red Cross Society of Eritrea maintains the tracing and Red Cross message (RCM) network so that relatives separated by the border can keep in touch.
Supporting and building the capacity of the Red Cross Society of Eritrea to respond to disasters, restore family links through Red Cross Messages (RCMs) and tracing, and to create awareness of international humanitarian law and the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement remains one of the priorities of the ICRC.
The ICRC continues to raise awareness and to promote respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) among the authorities and civilians, in particular youth, community elders, teachers and students. In coordination with the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, the ICRC has conducted dissemination sessions to hundreds of members of the Union to raise their awareness on the basics of IHL and the activities of the ICRC.
The ICRC trained the Eritrean police in IHL before 2005 and the Eritrean Defence Force until 2009.