State Department allowing some employees, family members to leave Ethiopia

State Department allowing some employees, family members to leave Ethiopia
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The State Department is allowing nonemergency government employees as well as staffers' family members to voluntarily depart Ethiopia because of the "armed conflict, civil unrest, and possible supply shortages," the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa announced on Wednesday

The embassy advised that Americans consider leaving Ethiopia immediately through commercial options and that those who do choose to stay in the nation ensure that they have enough supplies in case they need to shelter in place. 

The embassy warned that traveling to Ethiopia is unsafe and that further escalation of the conflict between government forces and rebels is likely, noting that Ethiopia declared a state of emergency Tuesday. 

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The embassy also said that the Ethiopian government has "restricted or shut down Internet access, cellular data, and phone services during and after civil unrest," which the embassy says could hinder its ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in the country. 

The embassy added that it may not be able to provide emergency services to citizens outside of Addis Ababa due to travel restrictions beyond the city limits.

The United Nations recently stated that Ethiopia's war has been marked by "extreme brutality," noting that alleged war crimes likely go far beyond the scope that could be investigated. 

The U.S. is also sending a special envoy to Ethiopia Thursday and Friday because of the concerns of escalating tensions in the region of Tigray. 

"Without question the situation is getting worse ... and we are, frankly, alarmed by the situation," Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. special envoy, said.

Recently, President Biden ended Ethiopia's involvement in a trade agreement due to human rights violations. 

Biden said that Ethiopia, as well as Guinea and Mali, do not fulfill the African Growth and Opportunity Act eligibility requirements because they are responsible for “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”