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 to the Minister for Africa, Bishop Paul expressed his solidarity with the local Church in Ethiopia and warned:
“We are aware of atrocities being committed and a continuation of violence 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.
“Furthermore, we have received reports of people dying every day from a lack of food, water, medicine, and other essentials. This is compounded by barriers preventing humanitarian agencies reaching those who have fled the fighting.”
He went on to call for urgent action, stating:
“As the situation continues to worsen, I implore you 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.”
Fighting broke out between Tigray’s regional government and Ethiopia’s federal government in November. Over 1 million people are thought to have been displaced and agencies working on the ground are warning of mass starvation.
Please pray for the people of Tigray and all those working for justice and peace. You can also support CAFOD’s Tigray crisis appeal which is delivering urgent humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict.