During 2020 violence continued in various parts of the country leaving millions in need of humanitarian assistance.

In November 2020, the Ethiopian federal government launched a military offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front to take control of the region’s capital in retaliation for an attack by Tigray regional forces on a federal military base.

The region’s security situation remains unstable. Eritrean troops have intervened and support the federal forces.

Deliberate targeting of civilians, looting, destruction of critical infrastructure, and widespread sexual violence was perpetrated by conflict actors.

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Aid in Danger

In 2020 there was a deterioration of humanitarian access due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a political crisis, and conflict in Tigray. Humanitarian organisations continue to be denied or delayed access to many conflict-affected regions and communication blackouts persist in some areas.

Since the Tigray conflict began, eight Ethiopian aid workers have been killed and at least 100 remain unaccounted for. Read Vigil Insight’s Situation Report.

Sexual Violence

Reports of systematic sexual violence by conflict parties have been reported during the Tigray conflict. Tigrayan women were raped at gunpoint and forced to have sex with other family members or in exchange for basic commodities. In some cases, their family members were made to watch. In other cases, women were taken to an Eritrean military camp and repeatedly gang-raped by Eritrean soldiers.

Women and girls in refugee camps in the region were particularly targeted. Witnesses to these incidents were threatened and warned against identifying perpetrators or reporting the incidents. Data


In 2020 schools and teachers were harmed amidst violence in Oromio, Benishangul-Gumuz, and Tigray regions. Schools associated with ethnic Amhara residents were burnt down and ethnic Amhara students were attacked by Oromo youth organizations during the June protests in Oromio against the assassination of a prominent Oromo artist.

Teachers were shot and killed by police and federal forces for allegedly organising demonstrations. Schools were used by armed militiamen and opposition forces to execute civilians in Oromio and Benishangul-Gumuz regions.

Schools were damaged by Ethiopian National Defence forces airstrikes and set on fire by conflict parties in Tigray.

IDPs and Refugees

Humanitarian organisations continue to be denied or delayed access to many conflict-affected regions. Shimelba and Hitsats refugee camps in the north were deliberately attacked and refugees were abducted and killed. Infrastructures inside the camps were also burnt down.

Claims of refugees being forced back into Eritrea by Eritrean forces have been reported.