Ethiopia: ICRC activity report 2006

The ICRC conducted a wide range of activities in Ethiopia in 2006. Its priority is to protect and assist people detained, displaced or otherwise affected by armed conflict or internal violence or disturbances, sometimes compounded by natural disasters.


Except in places of detention within the competence of the federal authorities, where it hasn't had access since 2005, the ICRC visited people deprived of their freedom held in prisons, police stations and some military camps. The organization also strived to maintain and restore family links through its Red Cross message network and repatriation operations.

Visits to detainees

In 2006, the ICRC monitored the individual cases of some 2,100 detainees, including 220 minors, in 223 detention facilities.

The ICRC repaired or upgraded infrastructure such as latrines and kitchens in 30 prisons to the benefit of 20,000 prisoners.

Restoring family links

In collaboration with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), the ICRC delivered over 14,400 Red Cross messages (RCMs) in Ethiopia and collected more than 16,000.

Five repatriation operations were organized in 2006, involving a total of 1,071 people, of whom 988 were Ethiopians who returned to Ethiopia (including 30 minors) and 83 were Eritreans returning to Eritrea (including 24 minors).


The ICRC delivered aid and provided support throughout the year for the communities affected by recurrent clashes and past conflicts.

Water and sanitation

A total of 300,000 people benefited from 240 rural water and sanitation projects including the construction and installation of hand or solar pumps, the digging of wells and boreholes. These projects were implemented in the regions of Gambella, Tigray, Somali, Oromyia and Afar.

Economic security

In 2006, over 17,000 people directly affected by armed violence in different parts of the country received emergency support from the ICRC. Most of these communities had to leave their homes following inter-ethnic or religious clashes. They received tarpaulins, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchenware and jerry cans.

Preserving community livelihoods

In the Boromodaitu district of Afar, primary training was provided to 30 community animal health workers. They received starter drug kits to help them provide animal health services to their communities. To complement the animal health activities, seeds, tools, and training were provided to seven communities.

In the Somali Regional State, the ICRC, in close cooperation with the communities, built 150 pit latrines and 33 water facilities and set up local committees to run them. Farming cooperatives along the Shebele River received 12,500 fruit-tree saplings to help vary their diet and boost their income. Training for livestock owners was conducted to cover issues of animal health and livestock management.

Physical rehabilitation for the disabled

The ICRC supported eight physical rehabilitation centres that treated almost 9,000 patients and boosted significantly their production of artificial limbs and other devices.

Promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL)

The ICRC continued to raise awareness about IHL and the organization's activities and mandate among different armed carriers, academics and sectors of civil society.


- over 18,000 armed forces personnel, mainly officers and recruits of the Special Forces, as well as 3,130 peacekeepers heading for Liberia were briefed on IHL and internal security operations;

- more than 70 senior military and police officers took part in two training workshops on IHL and human rights standards applicable to internal security operations;

- a total of 12 instructors participated in revising the IHL curricula of the Defence University, and 30 instructors from the Command and Staff College, Military Academy, Special Forces and different training centres attended training workshops;

- 25 Military Attachés attended a briefing session on the "military personnel identification tag" project


- 25 instructors at the police college attended a refresher course on good policing, human rights and humanitarian principles, while over 3,180 police personnel, 9,100 recruits and some 400 militiamen participated in awareness sessions on international human rights law and good policing.


- The law faculties of Addis Ababa University and an increasing number of regional universities continued to receive support to integrate IHL courses into their programmes. Three students participated in the Moot Court Competition in Arusha, Tanzania.

Civil society

ICRC delegates working in violence-prone regions regularly gave talks on the basic principles of IHL to elders and other traditional community leaders who influence public opinion. The delegation also organized public events to highlight humanitarian issues on International Women's Day, World Water Day and World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

The national and international media were provided with press releases, interviews and field trips to spread knowledge of IHL and draw attention to humanitarian issues.

Cooperation with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS)

The ERCS and the ICRC worked together to deliver emergency aid, run the tracing and RCM network, assist in repatriations and promote IHL and the Fundamental Principles countrywide. The National Society received funds, training, materials, equipment and technical expertise to develop these activities, especially in violence-prone regions.

With ICRC support, the ERCS:

- finalized and handed over a tree planting project nursery that, in the last 3 years, has produced 1.8 million seedlings that were distributed to 52 subdistricts affected by the 2003 drought;

- supplied water to drought victims in southern Oromia, non-food items to victims of floods in Dire-Dawa and Amhara region, and food to victims of inter-communal clashes in the areas of Oromya, Borena and Kemise. It also assisted 1,400 returnees from Yemen;

- finalized and handed over three assistance projects to mine victims, HIV/AIDS victims and street children in Tigray. These projects helped 70 HIV/AIDS patients and some 300 street children were assisted in starting small businesses.

Drought operation

In response to the drought that affected the southeast of the country early in 2006, the ICRC:

- trucked in water to 70,000 people

- provided 20,000 people with food

- supplied 35,000 people with seeds and tools

- supported 16 health facilities with medical supplies

- repaired 307 irrigation pumps

- treated 336,000 head of livestock against disease

- provided the ERCS with funds and 10 water tanks for their drought action and at a later stage supported their response to flood situations.