Ethiopia has expelled seven United Nations (UN) officials, giving them 72 hours to leave the country. The government has accused them of meddling in the internal affairs of the country, a reference to Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict.
Among those expelled is Adele Khodr, the UNICEF representative in Ethiopia.
Another official is from the UN Human Rights Commission, and five others are from the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs.
They are accused by the Ethiopian government of not sticking to their duties and responsibilities.
The government has not given details of their alleged wrongdoing, but has declared them “Persona Non-Grata”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he has confidence that the UN staff in Ethiopia are working in a neutral, impartial and independent manner. He says he hopes the Ethiopian government will consider reversing its decision.
The US government has condemned the expulsion of the UN staff and is asking Ethiopia to reverse the decision, adding that it will not hesitate to respond decisively. It has asked the UN Security Council and the international community to make it clear to the government of Ethiopia that impeding humanitarian operations is unacceptable.
The conflict in Ethiopia’s north has seen some mistrust develop between the government and some aid agencies, some of which it accuses of being lenient towards the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
In August, Ethiopia suspended the operations of Doctors Without Borders and the Norwegian Refugee Council accusing them of disseminating misinformation.