UN officials recall recordings from Ethiopia

Texas News Today

FILE PHOTO: International Organization for Migration (IOM) director Antonio Vittorino attends a press conference at the United Nations on March 3, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland. Reuters / Dennis Bali Bose

13 October 2021

Maggie Fick

Nairobi (Reuters) – Two UN officials were recalled from Ethiopia after a voice recording criticizing UN officials was released online, according to a letter and spokesman for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

In the recording, two women who say they work for the United Nations in Ethiopia, but are not named globally, sympathize with independent journalists in the armed forces of the northern Tigre region fighting the Ethiopian government. He says that there are high-ranking officials of the United Nations.

Reuters heard the woman’s comments after the recording was released online, but could not independently verify the recording’s authenticity.

In a letter dated October 11, the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the staff had been recalled to headquarters and taken leave until the records were checked.

“The opinions given to employees in the voice recordings are not consistent with IOM principles and values,” IOM Secretary Antonio Vittorino wrote in a letter to Reuters on Tuesday.

Vittorino did not name the person who was recalled in his letter. Two UN officials in Addis Ababa have identified one of the recorded women as Maureen Ethian, the IOM’s chief representative in Ethiopia.

Asked whether the persons recalled to headquarters were Achaean, an IOM spokesperson said he could not confirm the names of the employees.

Achieng and reporters were not immediately asked for comment.

Two East African-based UN officials have identified Dania Gail, the national representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Ethiopia, as another voice in the recording.

A UNFPA spokesman said the Ethiopian representative had been called back to New York for further discussions. A spokesman did not wish to be named.

Gail did not respond to requests for comment sent by email and Twitter late Tuesday.

“Senior Managers are deeply concerned and this issue is currently being addressed in line with internal rules and regulations,” a spokesperson said.

“All UNFPA employees are bound by the United Nations standards of independence and neutrality, which are essential to the work we provide to all the people we serve, wherever they are,” a spokesman said. I said.

According to the United Nations, the Ethiopian government has blocked aid access to hundreds of thousands of people facing famine in Tigre, where some 7 million people depend on food aid because of the war. The government has denied that it is withholding aid.

Ethiopia last month summoned seven UN officials at https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/un-decries-ethiopia-expulsions-says-52-million-need-aid-tigray-2021-10-01 expelled. . They accused him of interfering in domestic matters.

Abiy Ahmed’s spokesman, Billin Seyumu, criticized the IOM on Twitter on Tuesday. He said Achienne, who mentioned by linking to Achienne’s verified Twitter account, said, “the unfounded truth about institutional bias with the UN system.”

In November 2020, a war broke out between the Ethiopian government and the Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party that controls the Tigre.

In the recording, the two women reveal, without evidence, that the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is one of the UN officials sympathetic to the Tigrinya army. A Tigrinya, Tedros has repeatedly denied complicity in the conflict.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick, additional reporting by Giulia Paravicini of Addis Ababa and Daphne Saledakis of Washington, edited by Catherine Horald and Timothy Heritage)

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