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Ethiopia / Eritrea: Ethiopians repatriated under ICRC auspices

19-10-2000 News Release 00/40

Some 880 Ethiopian nationals and persons of Ethiopian origin travelled from Eritrea to Ethiopia under ICRC auspices on Saturday 14 October.

Their transfer, which was facilitated by full cooperation from the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments, was carried out between the Eritrean town of Adi Quala and Rama, in Ethiopia. Prior discussions between the ICRC and both governments made it possible to agree on conditions to ensure that the process provided adequate guarantees of safety and dignity, as required by international humanitarian law.

ICRC delegates based in Asmara registered the persons involved, who had been living in Eritrea before the outbreak of the war between the two countries, and conducted individual interviews to confirm that they indeed wished to go to Ethiopia. Afterwards, with assistance from the Red Cross Society of Eritrea, the ICRC accompanied them to the border, where they were taken charge of by another ICRC team, this time based in Ethiopia, who helped them cross the river dividing the two countries. Finally, the returnees were taken by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, with ICRC support, to Adwa, where they were placed in the care of the Ethiopian authorities.

The ICRC will continue offering its services to the parties to the conflict with a view to facilitating the transfer of those wishing to go from Ethiopia to Eritrea or vice versa, and to promote compliance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.