Fact sheet: ICRC in Ethiopia

General Situation
The Ethiopian government, which has been in power since the end of the civil war in 1991, continues its battle against the underdevelopment and extreme poverty that have beset the country in recent decades.

Armed opposition groups are still active in certain areas, primarily the Somali National Regional State and the southern lowlands, but on a minor scale compared with previous years. The most serious threat to Ethiopia's peace and stability came from the international conflict that erupted over a border dispute with Eritrea in May 1998.

The ICRC maintains a presence in the different regions affected by insecurity while strengthening its contacts with the regional authorities. In northern Ethiopia, to extend its activities related to the international conflict, it established a permanent presence in the Afar Regional State.

The ICRC delegation in Ethiopia is located in Addis Ababa with a sub-delegation in Harar and offices in Gode, Asosa and Jijiga.

Major activities

ICRC Delegation:

Visits to Prisoners:

The ICRC conducts regular visits to prisoners of war and civilian internees held as a result of the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In addition, the ICRC visits security detainees as well as people held in connection with the change in government in 1991. The objective is to determine whether their physical conditions and treatment comply with the provisions of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Legal Advisory Service:

The trials of those detainees accused of committing crimes during the previous regime or held for state security reasons are monitored by the ICRC legal delegate, focusing on the defendants' right to a fair trial. The ICRC also assesses the judicial process of those detainees held in connection with internal security matters.

Prosthetic/Orthotic Training Centre:

This centre supports several orthopaedic projects supported by the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled. Through the exporting of several thousand polypropylene prosthetic components and molds, the provision of training courses for technicians and the technical follow-up missions to other centres, it provides the key services which enable our various centres to provide valuable services to those suffering loss of limbs due to conflict.

ICRC Permanent Mission to the OAU:

The ICRC was given official observer status at the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa in 1992. The ICRC's permanent mission to the OAU enables it to gain broad insight into the political scene in Africa, and raise awareness among the African governments of the role and activities of the ICRC and to alert them to the need for greater recognition and application of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in their respective countries.

The ICRC activities in Ethiopia cover a wide spectrum of humanitarian activities, such as:

Visits to prisoners to assess their material and psychological conditions:

Between January and September, the ICRC:

  • visited detainees in 55 places of detention
  • provided basic medical supplies for detainees, as well as blankets, hygiene and recreational items; carried out water- supply and sanitation improvements to places of detention
  • held a number of workshops for prison employees on prison health issues.

Holding seminars to present the role of the ICRC and the Movement and the principles of IHL. Groups targeted are armed forces, military, teachers and National Society members:

Held seminars for officers and cadets from the Ethiopian Police Force, police instructors, students and government officials to present the role of the ICRC and the Movement and the provisions of humanitarian law.

Budget and Staff

The 2000 budget for ICRC Ethiopia, including the international conflict with Eritrea and the ICRC Permanent Mission to the OAU is: SFr 24,969,703.

Personnel includes:

40 expatriate.

138 locally hired staff.

Ref. LG 2000-015-ENG