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Ethiopian refugees flee conflict in Tigray Ethiopian refugees flee conflict in Tigray  (AFP or licensors)

British Bishop calls on UK government to help justice and peace efforts in Tigray

The lead Bishop for Africa for the Bishops Conference of England and Wales calls for urgent government assistance for people affected by the violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and its involvement in peace efforts.

By Vatican News staff reporter

The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region continues to deteriorate following fighting which broke out between Tigray’s regional government and Ethiopia’s federal government in November last year.

Over 1 million people are thought to have been displaced, and agencies working on the ground are warning of mass starvation.

The current crisis has lead the Bishops of England and Wales to add their voice to the growing alarm.

Violence and starvation

Bishop Paul Swarbrick, the lead bishop for Africa, has called on the UK government to step up its assistance for people affected by the violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and its involvement in peace efforts.

In a letter, sent Tuesday to the Minister for Africa, Bishop Swarbrick expressed his solidarity with the local Church in Ethiopia and warned atrocities are being committed with no peace in sight.

“We are particularly concerned by the reports of widespread sexual violence and there is an urgent need to ensure protection of vulnerable groups, especially women and girls,” he said.

The Bishops have been receiving reports of people dying every day from a lack of food, water, medicine, and other essentials. This situation, said Bishop Swarbrick, is being “compounded by barriers preventing humanitarian agencies reaching those who have fled the fighting.”

Urgent call

In calling for urgent action, the Bishop for Africa implored the government to redouble the UK’s assistance to those affected and diplomatic support for peace initiatives.

“I hope that you may also reiterate the paramount importance of every side in the conflict, along with neighbouring countries, respecting international law including around the safe accommodation of refugees,”  he said.

03 February 2021, 13:46