British government ducks question about the plight of Tigrayans arrested and abused in Ethiopia

Lord David Alton, a Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eritrea in the UK Parliament, asked the British government about the plight of Tigrayans, thousands of whom have been arrested and held in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia.

Below is the response, which – in line with recent British statements – is a vague generalisation. It is worth noting that there has been no ministerial contact with the Ethiopian government since 18 November, despite the pace of developments in recent weeks.


Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4248):

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate, if any, they have made of the number of Tigrayans who have been detained in Addis Ababa; and what assessment they have made of reports of landlords checking their tenants’ identification cards, including UN staff other relief agencies. (HL4248)

Tabled on: 22 November 2021

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park:

We are extremely concerned by reports of widespread human rights violations and abuses in Ethiopia committed by all sides to the conflict. The Minister for Africa spoke with the Ethiopian State Minister Redwan on 18 November and expressed her concern over ethnic profiling and mass arrests and detentions across the country and stressed the need for all parties to the conflict to engage in meaningful talks. The British Ambassador to Ethiopia also raised our concerns about ongoing detentions with President Sahle-Work on 12 November.

The Foreign Secretary, our Ambassador in Addis Ababa and the Minister for Africa continue to raise human rights issues in our discussions with the Ethiopian Government and more broadly we have reminded all warring parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Our priority is to ensure that Ethiopians, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political affiliation, receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by conflict and insecurity is restored.

Date and time of answer: 01 Dec 2021 at 12:03.

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