I have been contacted by many constituents about the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
I am deeply concerned by the ongoing hostilities between the Ethiopian military and Tigrayan forces. Reports of hundreds of causalities and tens of thousands of refugees are deeply worrying. The UN has reported that some 43,000 refugees have now crossed into Sudan. the Shadow Minister for Africa has repeatedly pressed the Government on the situation in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Government must urgently guarantee and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access and restore basic services in Tigray. I would also like to see access being granted to independent human rights monitors. The situation is now perilous following the announcement of a military offensive on the Tigrayan capital Mekelle.
Both sides must commit to finding a political solution to this conflict to avoid a looming humanitarian crisis and the spread of fighting and suffering to other countries in the region. The UK Government must assist in every way it can to help de-escalate the situation and restore peace.
The war and famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s are seared into all our memories. The Ethiopian people are on the brink of another tragedy and this situation is a sad demonstration of why it is wrong for the Government to cut our 0.7% commitment to humanitarian assistance.
I will continue to follow the situation in Ethiopia closely.
Hilary Benn MP