The UN and its agencies have condemned the brutal killings of three staff members from “Doctors Without Borders” in the Ethiopian province of Tigray.
The UN and its humanitarian agencies are deeply saddened by the killings that befell three Doctors Without Borders workers in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The United Nations demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice and that they be punished severely for killing innocent people who were helping the needy and those affected by the ongoing conflict.
Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement made Saturday, expressed his deep shock at the killing of the three humanitarian workers.
“This is totally unacceptable and a horrific violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.
He stressed that the perpetrators must be found and punished severely, and expressed solidarity with UN humanitarian partners who are risking their lives to provide protection and relief to the people of Tigray.
Respect for International Law
For her part, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed her outrage at the brutal killing of three humanitarian workers that took place.
“Humanitarian and human rights workers are civilians and therefore can never be targeted,” she said in a statement.
She stressed that the parties to the conflict must fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law.
These horrific killings came as the Human Rights Office continues to receive reports of ongoing grave violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights violations and abuses in Tigray.
Joining Guterres in calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, Bachelet said that “there must be a prompt, transparent and thorough investigation into the killings of our humanitarian colleagues.”
“The perpetrators, must be held accountable,” she added.
Condemnation of Targeting
The Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, Antonio Vitorino, also expressed his shock at the killing of the humanitarian workers working for the “Doctors Without Borders” team in the Tigray region.
In a tweet on his Twitter account, he said that the humanitarian workers were serving some of the most vulnerable people.
“The International Organization for Migration condemns in the strongest terms the targeting of aid workers in conflict,” he added.
He offered his condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.
In a tweet, World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley said he was shocked by the terrible news from Tigray, where three colleagues were brutally murdered while simply trying to help others.
Beasley spoke on behalf of the World Food Programme, saying that “our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends during this difficult time”.
The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, could not find the appropriate words to express the pain of such a great loss, and said in a tweet on Twitter: “No words.”
He expressed the UNHCR’s solidarity with colleagues in “Doctors Without Borders”, and said that the UNHCR’s thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of the colleagues who were horribly killed in Tigray.
He offered his heartfelt condolences to Dr. Christos Christo, President of Doctors Without Borders.
Seeking the Truth
A statement posted on the Doctors Without Borders website stated that three of the organization’s staff – the emergency coordinator, the assistant coordinator and the driver – had been confirmed dead.
On Thursday, in Tigray province, contact was cut off, and on Friday their vehicle was found empty and their bodies were found a few meters away.
The organization condemned the killing of humanitarian workers in the strongest terms, and noted that relentless work will go into finding out what happened.