Overview of the Eritrea refugee situation, March 2018

Source: Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat

RMMS East Africa and Yemen Monthly Summary

March 2018

Eritrean Refugees & Asylum seekers in the region

There are approximately 167,969 Eritrean refugees living in Ethiopia with 2,772 having arrived into Ethiopia in 2018 alone. 73,078 of the Eritrean refugees previously registered as living in camps have settled in urban areas. Eritrean refugees constitute 18.3% of the entire Ethiopian refugee population as at March 2018. In Somalia, there were 86 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers by the end of March 2018 while in Kenya there were approximately 1,360 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers by end of February 2018. Of the 1,360 refugees and asylum seekers, 95% are currently living in Nairobi. In South Sudan, there were approximately 1,472 registered Eritrean refugees at the end of March.

Refugees & IDPs

By end of March, there were 4,348 new South Sudanese refugee arrivals in Sudan bringing the total num-ber of arrivals in 2018 to 14,690. The main areas of settlement are East and South Darfur, West and South Kordofan, and West Nile. By end of March, East Darfur hosted 5,404 South Sudanese refu-gees, South Darfur 3,722, West Kordofan 3,227, South Kordofan 453 and White Nile 1,884 since the beginning of the year. Howev-er, the number of South Sudanese arriving into Sudan has de-creased across the first 3 months of the year with 5,770 having arrived in January, 4572 in February and 4,348 in March. UNHCR estimates that there are approximately 768,830 South Sudanese refugees living in Sudan with a majority of these having arrived after 2013. Twenty one percent of the South Sudanese refugee population were adults between 18 and 59 years, 13% between 5 and 11 years, 9% between 0 and 4 years, 8% between 12 and 17 years and 2% over 60 years of age. In South Sudan however, there are approximately 270,560 Sudanese refugees living in the country. UNICEF reports that there are approximately 2 million people internally displaced in Sudan with 960,000 of these being children & 468,475 being South Sudanese refugee children.

Political relations with Eritrea

In January’s monthly summary, RMMS noted that there were rising tensions between Sudan and Eritrea following the closure of the border with Eritrea allegedly due to the deployment of Egyptian troops to Asmara. However on 23 March, the Eritrean Ministry of Information accused the Sudanese government of helping set up an office for the followers of radical Islamic Cleric, Mohammed Jumma, in a secluded area to organize political and military activities with funding from the Qatari Embassy in Khartoum & logistical support from Sudanese Security and Intelligence Service. The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs later refuted these claims saying that its government is committed to its policy of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs.

Arrivals into Italy

However, between January and March 2018, Eritreans comprised 25% of all arrivals into Italy via the Central Mediterranean Route. UNHCR reports that the numbers of Eritreans registered at disembarkation sites in Italy have increased from 577 to 1,552 in comparison to the same period in 2017 with 25% of the arrivals being women. The report also shows that more Eritrean women arrived into Italy in 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. According to UNHCR, Eritreans account for 4.7% of the total Mediterranean Sea arrivals from January to of March 2018 and 7.2% of arrivals along the Central Mediterranean Route. The number currently stands at 8,604 and is the highest number for migrants from the Horn of Africa region.

The Israel Situation

Last month, RMMS reported that an Is-raeli court ruled that Eritreans who deserted military service back home in search of refugee in Israel were granted asylum status following previous challenges in accessing asylum in Israel. Following this, the Israeli government signed a deal with UNHCR to resettle approximately 16,000 African asylum seekers (including Eritreans) in Western Countries – a deal that was later suspended by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with reports claiming that the deal had angered members of his right-wing Likud Party

One comment

  1. Good morning,
    I hope, you already know that Islamic cleric Mohammed Jumma who lives in burmingham did not go to the Sudan (at least phiycally) during Eritrean officials mentioning his name in connection to the border crisis.
    Goitom

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