Ethiopia: ‘Reconciliation,’ cited in Nobel Peace Prize, is a life-saver for separated families

11 October 2019
Ethiopia: ‘Reconciliation,’ cited in Nobel Peace Prize, is a life-saver for separated families
Addis Ababa - Red Cross message delivery to a family. / ICRC

Addis Ababa (ICRC)—One of the heartbreaking byproducts of conflict is the sheer number of families that become separated and can no longer communicate with one another.

That's why the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is pleased to see the Norwegian Nobel Committee cite "reconciliation" as one of the reasons it awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

There is still work to be done, but the reforms have been life-changing for thousands of families. For two decades, people living in Ethiopia and Eritrea could not visit or call one another. The only way families could often share news was through letters known as Red Cross Messages.

"Imagine learning of births, deaths, and life milestones only by letter. No hugs. No shared tears of joy," said Julien Lerisson, ICRC's head of delegation in Ethiopia. "This all changed last year, when flights and telecommunications between Eritrea and Ethiopia resumed, allowing people to speak with and visit the people they love the most for the first time in 20 years. For families, this has been a very positive change."

For more information, please contact: 

Crystal Wells, Public Relations Officer, ICRC Nairobi,+254 716 897 265, cwells@icrc.org