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Ethiopia: ICRC activities January to May 2007

17-07-2007 Operational Update

Since the beginning of 2007, the ICRC has conducted a wide range of activities in Ethiopia. Its priority is to protect and assist people detained, displaced or otherwise affected by the 1998-2000 armed conflict with Eritrea or by internal violence or disturbances, often compounded by natural disasters.

  ©ICRC/S. Dehre/et-e-00122    
  Tigray region, Mereb River. ICRC vehicle transporting Ethiopian minors being repatriated from Eritrea.    
  ©ICRC/S. Dehre/et-e-00124    
  Tigray region, Mereb River. Repatriation of Ethopian civilians from Eritrea under the aegis of the ICRC.    
  ©ICRC/S. Dehre/et-e-00137    
  Tigray region, Mezaber. Water distribution point installed by the ICRC.    
  ©ICRC/C. Arndt/et-e-00115    
  Debel. Acute watery diarrhoea treatment site supported by the ICRC.    

Except in places of detention within the competence of the Federal authorities, where it hasn't had access since 2005, the ICRC visited people deprived of their freedom held in prisons, police stations and some military camps. The ICRC also strived to maintain and restore family links through its Red Cross message network and repatriation operations.


 Visits to detainees  


  • The ICRC is focusing on individual follow-up of security detainees with specific protection needs and promotion of the respect of judicial guarantees for all detainees. The delegation promotes knowledge of legal procedures and facilitates access to them for the inmates concerned. This involves various authorities and legal services.

  • Since the beginning of 2007, the ICRC monitored the individual cases of 883 detainees, including 135 minors, in 48 detention facilities.

  • The ICRC repaired or upgraded infrastructure such as latrines and kitchens in 12 prisons and 3 police stations for about 15,500 prisoners.

 Restoring family links  


  • in collaboration with the Ethiopian Red Cross S ociety (ERCS), the ICRC delivered 3,990 Red Cross messages in Ethiopia and collected over 3,340;

  • since the beginning of the year, two repatriation operations were organized, involving a total of 854 people, of whom 803 were Ethiopians who returned from Eritrea to Ethiopia (including 28 minors) and 51 were Eritreans returning from Ethiopia to Eritrea (including 23 minors).


Since January 2007, he ICRC has continued to deliver aid and provide support to the communities affected by recurrent clashes and past conflicts.

 Water and sanitation  


  • A total of 115,000 people benefited from 34 rural water and sanitation projects including the construction and installation of hand pumps, the digging of wells and boreholes. These projects were implemented in the regions of Gambella, Tigray, Somali and Afar.

 Economic security  


  • By the end of May 2007, over 5,880 people directly affected by armed violence in different parts of the country had received emergency support from the ICRC. Most of these people had to leave their homes following inter-ethnic clashes. They received essential household items, farming tools and food for approximately 500 families

 Preserving community livelihoods  


  • In the Boromodaitu district of Afar, the ICRC trained community animal health workers (CAHWs) who provided animal health services to 15 communities, representing 44,000 people. In order to support them in this activity, additional training was provided to 16 CAHWs on management of drug stock, record keeping and reporting, and general animal disease management. Forty representatives from eight communities were selected to be Lead Farming Households and participated in ICRC training on fodder production.

  • In the Somali Regional State, the ICRC conducted eight training sessions for 209 livestock owners to cover issues related to animal health and livestock management.

  • In Gambella, the ICRC continued to provide material inputs to 20 cooperatives, with 800 members (representing 4,800 people), whose activities were interrupted due to conflict, in order to restart their production. Cooperatives received a variety of inputs including fishing material, seeds and tools, spare parts for milling machines, as well as support to run restaurants.

 Physical rehabilitation for the disabled  


  • The ICRC supported eight physical rehabilitation centres that treated over 4,250 patients and boosted significantly their production of artificial limbs and other devices.

Promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL) 

The ICRC continued to raise awareness about both international humanitarian law (IHL) and of the organization's activities and mandate among different arms carriers, academics and sectors of civil society.


  • over 460 women officers attended 4 workshops on the ICRC's " women facing war " study;

  • more than 150 armed forces officers were briefed on IHL;

  • 1,200 military reservists attended a briefing session on the ICRC and the rules of behaviour in combat.



  • 22 instructors at the police academy attended a national evaluation workshop on the implementation of the principles of humanity in their training, while over 3,000 police personnel participated in awareness sessions on international human rights law and good policing.



  • The law faculties of Addis Ababa University and a number of regional universities continued to receive support to integrate IHL courses into their programmes. In addition, sessions on IHL and the ICRC were organized for approximately 1,450 students at five faculties of law throughout the country.

 Civil society  


  • ICRC delegates working in violence-prone regions regularly gave talks on the basic principles of IHL to elders and other traditional community leaders who have an influence on public opinion. The delegation also organized public events to highlight humanitarian issues on International Women's Day, World Water Day and World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

  • The national and international media were provided with press releases and interviews to spread knowledge of IHL and draw attention to humanitarian iss ues.

Cooperation with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) 

The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the ICRC worked together to deliver emergency aid, run the tracing and Red Cross message (RCM) network, assist in repatriations and promote IHL and the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement countrywide. The National Society received funds, training, materials, equipment and technical expertise to develop these activities, especially in violence-prone regions.

With ICRC support, the ERCS:

  • monitored branch activities such as relief distributions, first aid, restoring family links and dissemination of IHL in 8 regional branches;

  • trained over 230 people in first aid in 4 branches as well as 8 ICRC staff;

  • transported non-food items for 200 families to Gambella and provided a truck to Amhara branch to speed up the implementation of water sanitation projects funded by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies;

  • organized disaster management training for 9 regional branch secretaries and 15 zonal branch secretaries;

  • purchased 18 ambulances and 19 service vehicles;

  • exchanged 7,337 RCM and handled 13 health and welfare Requests;

  • disseminated the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to 390 local authorities and religious leaders in three regions, to over 5,900 students in two universities; broadcasted 16 Red Cross awareness programmes on TV and radio and celebrated the May 8th Red Cross Red Crescent Day in five regional ERCS branches.