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Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst
Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst
Risks of Starvation Rise in Ethiopia's Tigray War
Risks of Starvation Rise in Ethiopia's Tigray War
Media Release / Africa

Ethiopia Expels Crisis Group Senior Analyst

The Ethiopian government on 21 November deported Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Senior Analyst William Davison. No formal reason was immediately given, but his expulsion doubtless relates to the serious conflict in Tigray and increasing sensitivity to non-official points of view.

On 20 November, immigration officials in Addis Ababa summoned Crisis Group’s Ethiopia Senior Analyst William Davison and informed him he would need to leave the country immediately. He flew to the UK in the early hours of 21 November. Ethiopian authorities have yet to offer a formal reason for the decision. In an earlier tweet, an official in the Prime Minister’s office said Mr. Davison’s work permit had been revoked, citing alleged labour law breaches.

Crisis Group has been transparent and truthful in all representations it has made regarding Mr. Davison’s employment. Ultimately, there is little doubt that the reason for his deportation relates to the current tense situation in the country and the authorities’ increasing sensitivity to points of view that do not hew to its line. It is noteworthy that around the time Mr. Davison was expelled, authorities also warned the news agency Reuters’ Ethiopia correspondent and the BBC and Deutsche Welle stations.

Mr. Davison’s expulsion comes at a difficult and painful moment for Ethiopia. On 4 November, Africa’s second most populous country plunged into a serious conflict between federal troops and security forces from the Tigray region, one of Ethiopia’s ten states. The conflict has already cost hundreds of lives and sent tens of thousands of refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

Crisis Group and its analysts do not take sides. Their responsibility is to present as faithfully as possible the viewpoints of the relevant parties; their mandate is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts; their duty is to the civilians caught in their midst. Accordingly, and from the outset, Crisis Group has sought to explain the perspectives of the federal authorities and of the Tigrayan leadership, pressed for an end to hostilities and kept urging the parties to explore a negotiated solution and resolve their differences through political means. 

Since joining Crisis Group in April 2019, Mr. Davison has sought to follow this approach. He has been a respected and much sought-after commentator on Ethiopian affairs. He has contributed to 28 reports, briefings, statements and podcasts analysing Ethiopia’s contested transition. He has also contributed significantly to Crisis Group’s work on the Nile waters dispute.      

Crisis Group President & CEO Robert Malley said: “I deeply regret William’s deportation from Ethiopia, particularly at this time when we are working so hard to pursue an end to the current conflict. If Ethiopia is to make a success of its once-in-a-generation opportunity to transition into a more open and democratic society, it should welcome, rather than seek to stifle, independent voices analysing its politics”.

Crisis Group is an independent organisation that conducts field research, speaks to all parties, and seeks to offer impartial policy recommendations to help prevent and resolve deadly conflicts worldwide. Our Board of Trustees comprises prominent figures from the highest levels of government, business and philanthropic institutions from more than 30 countries, including former heads of state and foreign ministers from Algeria, Australia, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Japan, Liberia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. 

We continue to seek information on Mr. Davison’s expulsion and will post updates as necessary.

Reporters can reach Crisis Group at media@crisisgroup.org. 

Podcast / Africa

Risks of Starvation Rise in Ethiopia's Tigray War

This week on The Horn, renowned scholar Alex de Waal joins Alan Boswell for a grim assessment of the humanitarian situation developing in Ethiopia’s conflict-embroiled Tigray region. He fears it will tip into famine if the international community fails to act now.

Armed conflict has been raging in Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region since November and fears are growing that it is on the brink of famine. Sporadic reports trickling out of the chronically food-insecure region paint an alarming picture: hundreds of thousands displaced, essential infrastructure systematically destroyed, widespread atrocities committed and an untold number of civilian deaths. 

Shrouded by a virtual information blackout, Alex de Waal says the scope of what is yet to emerge is cause for even greater concern. Executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University and author of Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine, the renowned Horn of Africa scholar is back with Alan to distil what is known of how the war is unfolding. Having drawn in multiple belligerents, the situation is dire but also complex. 

Alex underlines that the window of time to avert a full-blown humanitarian disaster is slipping. He discusses what witnesses have told him about the catastrophe, how political will at the highest level can be mobilised to give humanitarian agencies access to stricken regions, what Eritrea’s endgame could be, and what may come of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) now that it has been forced into an insurgency from the mountains.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, see our latest briefing: Finding a Path to Peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

Contributors

Senior Analyst, South Sudan
alanboswell
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Alex de Waal
Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University