The solid logic behind UN officials’ expulsion

BY ADDISALEM MULAT

It is to be recalled that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, in letters issued on 30 September 2021 declared a ”persona non grata” for seven individuals working for UN humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia for meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

Following the decision of the government of Ethiopia the UN officials have been expressing their disappointment turning a deaf ear to the existing reality on the ground. Though the officials know the fact that the seven entities working for UN humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia were interfering in the internal affairs of the country time and again, they did not show any concern despite Ethiopia made every effort to familiar them with the whole thing they were doing behind closed curtains.

Speaking on the measures taken against the individuals, Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The action taken against seven foreign workers who have been working in international institutions, and became involved in activities that are detrimental to Ethiopia’s interests beyond the scope of their mission, is legal and meant to give lessons to others.”

“The individuals were ordered to leave the country on the grounds that they acted outside their assignments and involved themselves with unlawful activities. Any international non-governmental organization or individual is licensed to enter and act accordingly.

“It is illegal for any institution or individual to operate beyond their permit. Some come for medical treatment and health services and engage themselves in activities that disrupt health services and disturb the peace of society.”

He noted that all activities that undermine the sovereignty, the security and peace of the country are prohibited not only in Ethiopia but also in other countries.

As the government has a responsibility to stop these forces, the Ethiopian government has acted accordingly.

In connection to the current situation in the Northern part of Ethiopia, we had sadly observed that some UN staff have failed to fulfill their mission independently and impartially in accordance with the abovementioned MoU and the relevant principles of the UN. These serious violations have been brought to the attention of the relevant UN high officials and other international partners on multiple occasions, but to no avail, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

Despite these communications of concern, the grave violations persisted. As such, as a measure of last resort, the Government of Ethiopia had to ask some officials of UN agencies to leave the country.

Therefore, in order to avoid confusion regarding the measure taken by the Government, we wish to highlight some of the following breaches: which these individuals have committed in violation of their professional code of conduct: Diversion of humanitarian assistance to the TPLF, violating agreed-upon security arrangements, transferring communication equipment to be used by the TPLF, continued reticence in demanding the return of more than 400 trucks commandeered by the TPLF for military mobilization and for the transportation of its forces since July 2021; and dissemination of misinformation and politicization of humanitarian assistance.

Ethiopia is deeply disappointed by the fact that some countries are urging the United Nations Security Council to consider this matter. This is a blatant violation of Ethiopia’s sovereign prerogative on matters of national security. We are confident the Security Council will reject this undue politicization of humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations chief informed Ethiopia on Friday that it has no legal right to expel seven U.N. officials and warned that severe restrictions on desperately needed aid to the conflict-wracked Tigray region have created a humanitarian and human rights crisis that is “spiraling out of control, according to the report learned from AP.

Guterres said in a letter informing the U.N. Security Council of the expulsions, which was obtained by The Associated Press, that Ethiopia’s decision to expel critical members of the U.N. leadership team “creates yet another obstacle to reaching Ethiopians, at a moment when all efforts should be focused on working together to save and protect lives, protect human rights and avert a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Regarding the expulsion of the seven expulsion UN officials the former legislator Joe Miklosi told local media that the expulsion of UN officials who have been engaging in destructive activities in the name of humanitarianism is a reasonable measure intended to defend the peace of the country. Putting their responsibility of helping Ethiopia’s efforts to enhance the healthcare system, ensure food security and eradicate poverty aside, the officials have been found guilty of being highly involved in backing the terrorist TPLF clique.

Some officials and employees of the UN agencies in Ethiopia have been employing the humanitarian response in the northern part of the country for political purposes thereby justifying the expulsion. Ethiopian Diaspora in particular those residing in the United States have huge responsibility to inform the U.S. decision making body the underlying factors for Ethiopia’s decision to expel UN officials,” he added.

He stressed that the Diaspora has also the potential to convince the Biden Administration not to strip Ethiopia’s entitlement of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Accordingly, due attention should be given to approach the U.S. legislators, in particular Senate Foreign Relations Committee members with a view to enabling them to have the correct understanding of the current situations of Ethiopia and making informed decisions.

Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative in the UN at the open meeting of the United Nations Security Council on peace and security in Africa in relation to the issue said Wednesday, “I don’t want to hide my surprise in the convening of this meeting of the Security Council. We find it incomprehensible for this August body to discuss the decision of a sovereign state exercised within the domain of international law and sovereign prerogative.

There have been several instances where governments had expelled the UN staff and other diplomatic envoys for so many disclosed and undisclosed reasons. Did the council ever meet to vindicate such a decision? Not to the best of our recollection. We truly hoped council members would have the insight to leave this matter to the government of Ethiopia and the United Nations. At the outset, i would like to register our position that the government of Ethiopia is not under any legal obligation to provide justifications or explanation for its decisions…. The UN staff Ethiopia expelled sidelined their oaths, the rules of professional conduct, and the principles of humanitarian assistance.”

The Ethiopian Herald October 9/2021

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