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ICRC repatriates Ethiopians from Eritrea

20-06-2000 News Release 00/22

Geneva (ICRC) - About five hundred Ethiopians who had been living in Eritrea were repatriated to Ethiopia of their own free will on Tuesday 20 June under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), acting in its capacity as a neutral intermediary as defined by the four 1949 Geneva Conventions. The operation, which was undertaken with the agreement and cooperation of the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments, took place on the front line between the towns of Adi Quala and Rama. ICRC delegates based in Asmara, after conducting individual interviews with the persons concerned to confirm that they wished to return to Ethiopia, accompanied them until they were handed over to an ICRC team from Addis Ababa.

These some 500 people are part of one group of 3,500 displaced persons who fled the new upsurge in fighting in mid-May to seek refuge outside the combat zone. In the next few days the remaining 3,000 will be repatriated in the same way.

ICRC delegates have also started visiting Ethiopian civilians interned in Eritrea and are providing them with aid. 

The ICRC will continue to offer its services to the parties to the conflict with a view to facilitating the repatriation of Ethiopian nationals who wish to return to Ethiopia and to promoting the application of the provisions of international humanitarian law, in particular the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977.