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SocietyFamilies of stranded students plead with the UN

Families of stranded students plead with the UN

Thousands of family members of students stranded in universities located in Tigray regional state following the unilateral ceasefire by the federal government, have staged a demonstration on Friday, July 23, 2021, in front of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) and pleaded with the UN agency to facilitate a means to repatriate students.

Following the unilateral ceasefire by the federal government and withdrawal of federal forces from the region since June 30, 2021, university students from different parts of Ethiopia, who were enrolled in different universities of the region have been stranded.

However, since the announcement of the ceasefire, several parents expressed their concerns and anxieties regarding the government’s decision, which was taken without considering the thousands of students attending classes in the region.

Despite a brief notice by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE), stating that the students are in good condition, it is not yet clear how the government will handle the case.

Concerned parents and relatives of the students in Tigray regional state universities told The Reporter they have knocked on different local and international institutions including the Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Peace, and the Red Cross in an effort to find a means of transportation. They sadly indicated that their efforts have been in vain.

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Subsequently, thousands of parents gathered at the UN-ECA in search of lasting solutions.

According to a family member of a student that The Reporter approached, the number of demonstrators that marched to the ECA is estimated to be around 3000, and close to 15,000 students are stranded in the region.

Birhanu Tigneh is among the families that marched to the UN on behalf of his daughter stranded in Mekele University. He told The Reporter “We have sent our kids to these schools with faith in the government; however, now they are stranded, and we are seeking an answer from this international institution, since the government is unable to act.’’

“Since the placement of students in universities is done by the government, they shouldn’t be left alone in the region without any prior announcement. To get away from these universities is very difficult currently unless the UN supports the process,” said Mesert Techane, a family member of one of the students.

Noting the information coming from the region concerning shortages of food items, medicine and other essential materials, parents have expressed their concerns regarding hunger and bad health conditions.

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