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Ethiopia: ICRC activities in 2007

18-02-2008 Operational Update

In 2007 the ICRC conducted a wide range of activities in Ethiopia. However, it had to reduce its activities after it was expelled from the Somali Regional State by the regional authorities in July 2007. Generally, its priority is to protect and assist people detained, displaced or otherwise affected by armed conflict or other situations of violence, often compounded by natural disasters.



Except in places of detention under the authority of the Federal authorities, where it has not had access since end 2005, the ICRC visited people deprived of their freedom held in prisons and police stations. It documented the situation of civilians affected by conflict and shared its observations with the relevant authorities. The ICRC also strived to maintain and restore family links through its Red Cross message network, tracing activities and repatriation operations.


 Visits to detainees  


  • The ICRC focussed on the individual follow-up of security detainees with specific protection needs, the promotion of respect of judicial guarantees for all detainees and general living conditions. After the expulsion from the Somali Regional State, activities were reduced to primarily address respect for judicial guarantees and living conditions.

  • In 2007, the ICRC monitored the individual cases of 1,231 detainees, including 60 minors, in 103 detention facilities

  • The ICRC repaired or upgraded infrastructure such as latrines and kitchens in 18 places of detention for about 13,710 prisoners

 Restoring family links  

  • Together with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), the ICRC delivered 9,818 Red Cross Messages in Ethiopia and collected 8,742

  • In 2007, five repatriation operations were organized, involving a total of 2,707 people, of whom 2,585 were Ethiopians who returned to Ethiopia and 122 were Eritreans returning to Eritrea

  • During the year, 109 Tracing Requests were received by the ICRC from abroad, concerning individual sought persons or families. Twenty-two cases could already be solved in 2007 with the sought persons located and the family link re-established



The ICRC continued to deliver aid and provided support in 2007 for the communities affected by recurrent clashes and past conflicts. The ICRC was compelled to withdraw from the Somali Regional State in July and was therefore not able any more to assist the civilian population in need of humanitarian assistance.

 Water and sanitation  

  • A total of 98,424 people benefited from 34 rural water and sanitation projects including the construction and installation of hand pumps, dug wells and boreholes. These projects were implemented in the regions of Gambella, Tigray and Afar


 Economic security  

  • During the Year 2007, over 59,622 people directly affected by armed violence in different parts of the country or living in violence-prone areas received emergency support from the ICRC. Most of these comm unities had to leave their homes following inter-ethnic clashes. They received essential household items, short term food assistance, farming tools and fishing equipment


 Preserving community livelihoods  

  • On the whole 21,096 persons received basic veterinary and fodder production training, and also micro-economic initiatives

  • In the Boromodaitu district of Afar, the ICRC trained Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) provided animal health services to the 15 communities, representing 44'000 individuals. In order to support them in this activity, additional training was provided to 30 CAHWs on management of drug stock, record keeping and reporting, and general animal disease management. As well, 40 representatives from eight communities were selected to be Lead Farming Households and participated in ICRC training on fodder production

  • The ICRC also supported the treatment of some 54,000 animals against the most common diseases in the same district

  • In the Somali Regional State, the ICRC conducted eight trainings for 209 livestock owners that already showed an improvement of knowledge related to animal health and livestock management

  • In Gambella, the ICRC continued to provide material inputs to 20 cooperatives, with 720 members (representing 4'320 individuals), whose activities were interrupted due to conflict, in order to re-start 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

  • In Gambella as well, in order to revive the economy in areas with returning IDPs, a basic veterinary training programme was initiated, with 83 livestock owners returning to their villages to share their knowledge

 Physical rehabilitation for the disabled  


  • The ICRC supported eight physical rehabilitation centres and enhanced the production of 2,316 prostheses, 3,870 orthoses, 7,317 crutches and 591 wheelchairs; physiotherapy services were provided in 5 centres on regular basis



The ICRC continued to raise awareness of both international humanitarian law (IHL) and of its activities and mandate among different armed carriers, academics and sectors of civil society.



  • The ICRC has organized in September a two-day national workshop on the implementation of the Ottawa Treaty, contributing to the preparation of the 8th Assembly of the State Parties that took place in November in Jordan

  • one information session conducted for 32 Afar State parliamentarians

  • 16 sessions for about 700 authorities and government officials in the regions


  • Over 1,110 women officers attended 7 workshops on " women facing war "

  • More than 630 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, while over 4,500 police personnel participated in awareness sessions on international human rights law and good policing


  • The law faculties of Addis Ababa University and number of regional universities continued to receive a support to integrate IHL courses into their programmes. In addition, sessions on IHL and ICRC were organized for about 1,670 students at eight faculties of law

  • Three students from the Haremaya University sponsored by the ICRC participated to the Moot court competition in Arusha, Tanzania, and reached the final to finish second

 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 influenced 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 issues

  • A two-day workshop for 20 media professionals was organized in Bahir Dar in December



The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the ICRC worked together to deliver emergency aid, run the tracing and RCM network, assist in repatriations and promote IHL and the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross/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 in relief, first-aid, tracing and dissemination in 8 regional branches

  • organised a disaster management training for 9 regional branch secretaries and 15 zonal branch secretaries

  • trained in first aid 2,022 personnel in 28 branches

  • ensured the transportation of relief materials to various branches

  • provided food and non-food items to 1,940 families in Borena zone

  • purchased 18 ambulances and 19 service vehicles, and received 1 service vehicle and 2 motorcycles as a donation

  • received 200 manuals and 3,000 brochures on tracing for the headquarters and branches

  • organised 1 tracing refresher course and 1 training courses

  • disseminated the Fundamental Principles of the Movement to 2,047 local authorities and religious leaders in 7 regions, to 6'562 university students, broadcasted 33 RC awareness programmes on TV and radios