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[Press Release] The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been informed by the Ethiopian authorities that the five-month long suspension on its humanitarian work has been lifted.
The Authority for Civil Society Organizations (ACSO) ordered the suspension at the end of July citing the advocacy of NRC on humanitarian needs and access in the country, and a number of administrative issues relating to the organisation’s work. The board of ACSO prolonged the suspension at the end of October and asked further questions. NRC provided full and prompt answers and explanations to all allegations and questions made throughout the process. The Board lifted the suspension on 31 December and cleared the organisation for most of the allegations made. It issued a “strict warning” to the organisation referring to the advocacy of NRC and two administrative matters.
“We are relieved that the suspension that temporarily discontinued our humanitarian work for hundreds of thousands of people in great need has been lifted,” said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland.
“We look forward to resume our many years of humanitarian operations for refugees in Ethiopia, and for people displaced by conflict and disasters. To restart our operations for people in great need, our competent and committed Ethiopian and international staff urgently require the same basic operational freedoms that we enjoy everywhere else in the world. We look forward to renew our dialogue with the government and will seek the urgently needed permits, visas and green lights needed to ensure that we can properly resume our work and deliver aid wherever it is needed.
“It is heart-breaking that we were unable to reach our target of serving more than half a million in need across Ethiopia in 2021. Now that we have to restart, it will take time to again reach as many people as we did before the suspension. We have lost many of our staff, we urgently need permits for our international staff to return, and we need to be able to pay our suppliers.
“Our commitment remains unchanged towards serving the refugees and internally displaced people in Ethiopia. We will continue to work with local, national and international partners to provide aid and protection according to international humanitarian law and principles,” Egeland said.
Karl Schembri, Regional Media Adviser in Nairobi
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