Global Affairs providing assistance to 13 Canadians detained in Ethiopia

Global Affairs providing assistance to 13 Canadians detained in Ethiopia

Global Affairs Canada says officials are fully engaged with authorities in Ethiopia after 13 Canadians were detained there last week.

Canadian Humanitarian says a group of 10 Canadian volunteers, three Canadians on staff and two Ethiopian staff members are in custody in the African country on allegations they were practising medicine without permission and had dispensed expired medication.

The charity has disputed the allegations.

Spokeswoman Angela Savard says Global Affairs Canada is aware of the situation in Gondar, which is a city in northern Ethiopia.

She says Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne spoke with his Ethiopian counterpart about the humanitarian workers.

Savard says department officials are also in contact with local authorities to gather more information, while consular officials are working with the Canadians and their families.

No one from Canadian Humanitarian has returned emails or calls for comment.

A statement posted on the Canadian Humanitarian website Saturday said the group consists of doctors and other medical professionals whose mission is to provide essential medical care to Ethiopians.

The group is described as a registered charity, based in Medicine Hat, Alta., which sends volunteers abroad to provide medical and dental support, along with other humanitarian services.

In Edmonton, a spokeswoman for Premier Jason Kenney said the government is waiting for more information from Ottawa.

“We are very concerned with the situation in Ethiopia,” Christine Myatt said in an email.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2020

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