Ethiopia: ICRC activities in 2010 benefit prisoners, separated families and disabled people
31-03-2011 Operational Update
During 2010, the ICRC completed water and sanitation projects benefiting over 50,000 people and continued to support seven physical rehabilitation centres. It also focused on restoring family links, helping people detained in the Tigray and Afar regions and promoting international humanitarian law.
Visiting detainees in the Tigray and Afar regions
The ICRC visited detainees in several places of detention in Northern Tigray and Northern Afar, where a number of Eritreans are detained. In other regions, the ICRC continued to face significant restrictions; the Ethiopian authorities started progressively withdrawing the ICRC's access to federal places of detention in 2004 and obliged the organization to suspend its activities in Somali Regional State in 2007.
In 2010, the ICRC:
- conducted 10 visits in seven places of detention in the Afar and Tigray regions, monitored the conditions of detention of all detainees in those facilities and followed up on 130 detainees individually;
- supplied hygiene articles and educational materials to almost 8,500 detainees;
- upgraded water, sanitation and living facilities for almost 2,600 detainees in three jails;
Helping family members get in touch
The ICRC continued to help restore and maintain contact between people in Ethiopia and those in other countries, particularly Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia. The ICRC carried out this work with the crucial support of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS).
In 2010, the ICRC:
- delivered over 5,500 Red Cross messages in Ethiopia and collected almost 7,500;
- received some 100 new tracing requests;
- located 35 of the 391 people for which the organization had received tracing requests;
- relayed 37 official documents from Ethiopia to Eritrea and 6 from Eritrea to Ethiopia, enabling people to apply for admission to educational institutions or to secure employment (there is no direct communication between Ethiopia and Eritrea);
- issued 144 travel documents to Somali nationals in Ethiopia, to facilitate their resettlement abroad.
Renovating water supply systems and supporting the Ethiopian Red Cross
In the Tigray, Gambella and Afar regions, the ICRC completed a number of water and sanitation projects, benefiting 56,000 people who had inadequate access to clean water and decent sanitation facilities.
The ICRC provided trucks to the Ethiopian Red Cross so they could deliver emergency aid (blankets, tarpaulins, jerrycans and kitchen sets) to almost 43,000 people affected by floods, drought and wildfires in the Tigray and Afar regions.
Assisting disabled people
In 2010, the ICRC continued to support seven physical rehabilitation centres, in which almost 9,000 people received assistance. 22% of the patients were women and 20% children. Around 450 of the people assisted were landmine victims.
The centres produced over 1800 artificial limbs, almost 2,900 orthotic devices, over 5,000 crutches and over 350 wheelchairs, and offered physiotherapy services.
25 Ethiopian orthopaedic technicians were trained in cooperation with the ministry of labour and social affairs, while rehabilitation centre managers, regional authorities, NGOs and Ethiopian technicians received training in wheelchair assessment, prescription, assembly and adaptation and in the production and fitting of artificial legs and hands.
Promoting international humanitarian law
The ICRC continued to promote international humanitarian law (IHL) and the ICRC mandate and activities among the authorities, weapons bearers and civil society.
In 2010, the ICRC:
- conducted an information session on IHL and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement for 50 senior civil servants from various ministries of the federal government, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Civil Service College;
- organized two one-day seminars on IHL for 535 judges and prosecutors at their training academies;
- organized three one-day sessions on IHL and the ICRC’s mandate for over 400 members of the Ethiopian National Defence Force;
- held 12 sessions on human rights and humanitarian principles for more than 500 police personnel, of which seven sessions were specifically designed and conducted for 300 female police officers;
- held 19 sessions in areas prone to violence, with the support of the ERCS, involving more than 1,000 village elders and community leaders and personnel from regional governmental authorities, providing an opportunity to discuss IHL and the work of the Red Cross;
- organized five seminars on IHL and the Red Cross movement for some 725 students of law, political science and journalism on four university campuses.
Ethiopian students also participated in regional IHL essay and moot court competitions.