Ethiopia gives 7 UN staff 72 hours to exit country, says they meddled in their internal affairs

Friday, October 1st, 2021 09:32 |
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Photo/PD/file

The Ethiopian government on Thursday September 30, 2021 announced the expulsion of 7 United Nations aid workers accusing them of meddling in their internal affairs.

The Abiy Ahmed led administration, through a statement released by the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti, gave the United Nations staff a 72 hour-ultimatum to leave the country.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared ‘persona non-grata’ for seven individuals who have been working for some international NGOs in Ethiopia for meddling in the internal affairs of the country. They must leave the country within the next 72 hours,” the notice said.

The UN staff kicked out included; Adele Khodr, the UNCEF country Representative for Ethiopia, Sonny Onyegbule Monitoring, Reporting and Advocacy Team Leader for the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and Kwesi Sansculotte, the Peace and Development Advisor for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). 

Th list also roped in Saeed Mohamoud Hersi, who has been serving  as Deputy Head of Ethiopia Office for UNOCHA, Grant Leaity the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for UNOCHA in Ethiopia, Ghada Eltahir Mudawi the Acting Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for UNOCHA and Marcy Vigoda the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs.

According to diplomatic laws, once a host nation declares a diplomat persona non-grata, the person is obligated to leave the country or be stripped of diplomatic immunity and protection. 

On their side, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his shock by the decision exuding confidence that his staff have not been meddling in the domestic affairs of their host nation.

"All UN humanitarian operations are guided by the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. In Ethiopia, the UN is delivering lifesaving aid - including food, medicine, water, and sanitation supplies - to people in desperate need. I have full confidence in the UN staff who are in Ethiopia doing this work," he said.

Guterres confirmed that he is currently in negotiation with Ethiopia to allow the expelled staff back to the country.

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