UN Chief Urges Ethiopia To Protect Civilians In Tigray Region - Spokesman

UNITED NATIONS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 25th November, 2020) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Ethiopia to do its utmost to protect civilians in the Tigray region, United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

"Amid reports of a potential military offensive into the regional capital of Mekelle, he urges the leaders of Ethiopia to do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access for the provision of much-needed assistance," Dujarric said on Tuesday.

The Ethiopian military began an operation against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) earlier in November after the government accused Tigrayan militia groups of attacking a military base. On Tuesday, Ethiopian officials said that many members of the TPLF forces and militia fighters are surrendering within a 72-hour ultimatum issued by the government.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the number of Ethiopian refugees who crossed into neighboring Sudan seeking shelter has surpassed 40,000.

Dujarric said Guterres called for the free and safe movement of people in need of safety and assistance, regardless of their ethnic identity.

Guterres further reiterated his full support to the initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa to facilitate peaceful solutions, as well as urged all parties to seize this opportunity to lower tensions.