Martin Griffiths, United Nations senior official, is visiting Ethiopia amid increasing skepticism to the international community over alleged diplomatic and political support to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)
Mr. Martin Griffiths, a British man who was appointed as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in May of this year, has started a six days working visit to Ethiopia.
“It was important to me that I carry out my first official mission as the UN’s humanitarian chief to Ethiopia,” said Mr. Griffiths, as reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Last week, hundreds of parents whose children were stranded in the universities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia protested in front of the United Nations Branch Office in the capital Addis Ababa to oppose what they called, among other things, inappropriate political-like demands as a precondition to reunite students with their parents. Among the questions that the UN office allegedly asked were resumption of banking and telephone services in the region where the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) operated after the withdrawal of the Ethiopian Defense Force following a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire by the Ethiopian government.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Thursday that “Humanitarian needs in the country have increased this year as a result of the armed conflicts in Tigray and Benishangul-Gumuz, intercommunal violence in parts of Afar, Somali and SNNP regions, and drought in Somali, Oromia and Afar regions.”
Internal displacement and humanitarian crisis has been prevalent in Ethiopia in the past three years, especially in the Benishangul Gumuz and Oromo regions of Ethiopia. But it is after the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia that the UN responded
Mr. Griffiths has plans to visit Tigray region where OCHA claims to 5.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Until the declaration of a humanitarian ceasefire in June 2021, over 70 percent of the humanitarian assistance in the region was provided by the Ethiopian government.
Mr. Griffiths, who also served as the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, is expected to meet with Ethiopian officials. He sees his visit as “…an opportunity to discuss with the Government of Ethiopia’s officials and partners how the United Nations and its humanitarian partners can best serve the people of Ethiopia. I look forward to constructive discussions on scaling up the humanitarian response across the country,” as reported by OCHA.
Ethiopians, as demonstrated in social media campaigns, seem to exhibit a great deal of skepticism to the international community, multilateral institutions and state actors like the USA and the UK.
On Thursday, a social media campaign with the hashtags #Time2ProtectCivilians and #NoBackChannel4TPLF