Close Menu

U.S. blasts "sickening trend" as U.N. warned of "relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian workers"

Alex de Waal is quoted in this piece about increasing attacks on humanitarian aid workers in Ethiopia and around the world, via an article in CBS News.

At a U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday on the dangers humanitarian workers face, President Joe Biden's U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told diplomats: "A new and sickening trend has emerged: the deliberate targeting of humanitarian workers." 

In the case of Ethiopia, the U.N. has accused soldiers from Eritrea, who were supporting the Ethiopian government in the recent conflict with regional Tigrayan forces, of using starvation as a weapon of war. But this past week, Ethiopia went on the offensive. The government accused aid workers of "playing a destructive role," putting them in the crosshairs, and threatening to halt their work.  

At the Security Council meeting, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed warned of a "relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian workers," as diplomats cited attacks on such workers in more than a dozen countries.

"In Ethiopia's Tigray region - which stands on the brink of a man-made famine - parties to the conflict are impeding the delivery of aid, destroying civilian infrastructure and targeting aid workers," U.K. Ambassador Barbara Woodward told fellow diplomats on Friday.   

Mardini told CBS News that some aid is getting into Tigray, but not enough to meet the need. He said the ICRC hopes to scale up its operation in the region along with other organizations, including the U.N.'s own World Food Program. 

"It's like a patient with a desperate fever being given one aspirin," Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation, affiliated with Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, told CBS News.

Below are transcribed excerpts from our interview with Mardini, who speaks at length on what he believes should be done to increase aid deliveries around the world, and on the "dire" conditions in Ethiopia and in Haiti following the assassination of the country's president:  

Read More