High-level UN officials to observe ongoing response to Ethiopia's displacement crisis

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-09 21:47:24|Editor: xuxin
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ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peace-building Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco commenced four-day joint mission to Ethiopia so as to witness the ongoing humanitarian response to the displacement crisis in Ethiopia.

The joint high-level visit to Ethiopia's inter-communal affected areas by the two United Nations officials from September 8 to 11 is mainly aimed at observing "first-hand the response to the displacement crisis in Ethiopia and the Government's initiatives to find durable solutions for millions of internally displaced persons," the UN said in a statement issued Monday.

Lowcock and Fernandez-Taranco are also joined by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, during a visit to Chitu locality of Yirgachefe district, located in the Gedeo zone of Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's (SNNP) regional state, where they will meet Ethiopians who are affected by inter-communal conflicts that erupted since March 2018.

The two UN officials, among other things, are expected to "meet with people that have been returned to their home areas who need urgent food assistance and other aid. Many of their homes were destroyed and some have regained a livelihood," it was noted.

The high-level UN delegation is also expected to "meet other people displaced by conflict and host communities, and discuss with authorities and partners how to further enhance support for those most in need of humanitarian assistance and recovery."

The Gedeo zone, in Ethiopia's SNNP regional state, is one of the zones most affected by inter-communal conflicts that caused massive displacement and loss of livelihoods since 2018.

According to figures from the UN, prior to the Ethiopian government's efforts of return inter-communal conflict-affected people to their areas of origin, which started in May this year, there were close to 3.2 million internally displaced people in the East African country.

Some 2.6 million of the internally displaced people fled their homes due to conflicts, while close to 500,000 fled due to climate-related causes, and some 72,000 from other reasons, according to the UN.

The latest of the historically recurring clashes between communities in the Gedeo and West Guji zones along the borders of the SNNP and Oromia regional states were begun in March 2018.

Last week, the UN migration agency on Wednesday commended the Ethiopian government-led conflict resolution moves for restoring "relative peace" in southern parts of Ethiopia that have recently suffered from inter-communal conflicts that displaced hundreds of thousands.

"Since April 2019, conflict resolution moves led by the government have restored relative peace in parts of Ethiopia that have suffered unrest and enabled some internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their place of origin," said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The UN migration agency, which commended the Ethiopian government-led initiatives towards restoring the dire humanitarian condition in the southern parts of the East African country, however, stressed that "fulfilling basic needs remains a major challenge."