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Volume 711: debated on Monday 1 June 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how many (a) journalists, and (b) aid workers, have been expelled from the Ogaden in the past two years by the government of Ethiopia; how many of each group were British citizens; whether they made representations on this subject; and, if so, with what result. [HL3794]

We have made no assessment of exactly how many journalists and aid workers have been expelled by the Government of Ethiopia from the Somali region of Ethiopia (the Ogaden) in the past two years or how many of them were British citizens.

The International Committee for the Red Cross is the most notable organisation to be expelled from the Somalia region (July 2007). Even though it is still working to a minimum level in the rest of Ethiopia, there are no signs that it will be allowed to re-enter the Somali region. We are also aware that Medicins Sans Frontieres (Switzerland) ceased operating in the region in mid-2008 claiming intimidation and inability to do its job.

We are aware that a British journalist visiting the region in late 2007 was detained for not having the requisite permissions to travel in the region and subsequently left the country.

We continue to press the Government of Ethiopia to allow aid agencies to have greater access to the Ogaden in order to assist with the humanitarian situation.