The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called out the Ethiopian government to provide evidence that proves allegations against seven expelled senior U.N. officials, reported Reuters.
“We believe that Ethiopia has not the right to expel these members of the UN”, Guterres said in his right of reply at the Security Council meeting on Ethiopia.
“We believe Ethiopia is violating international law in doing so,” he added.
Guterres asked for written evidence, if any, provided by the Ethiopian government to any UN institution about any of the expelled members.
“I would like to receive a copy of that document because I have not had any knowledge of them,” the UN chief said.
The seven people being expelled include Ethiopian heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The seven expelled officials were given 72 hours’ time to leave the country. They have been accused of meddling in Ethiopia’s internal affairs, taking sides in the war in the Tigray region, and inflating the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis.
War broke out in November last year between Ethiopia’s federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls Tigray.
Taye Atske-Selassie, Ethiopia’s UN Ambassador, who also addressed the Council, stated the country is not under any legal obligation to provide justifications or explanations for its decisions. He listed numerous alleged transgressions and said the government’s decision to expel the officials sidelined their oath, the rules of professional conduct, and the principles of humanitarian assistance.
Selassie alleged the officials had made up data, falsely claiming hunger was used as a weapon of war and that people had died from hunger, and also accused them of supporting the Tigrayan forces who are fighting the government. He said they were looking to create a Darfur-like situation and suddenly created one million victims of a health disaster.