UNHCR plans for refugees in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia refugees

REFUGEES FROM ERITREA

Since 2000, Ethiopia has received and hosted thousands of Eritrean refugees fleeingĀ  persecution. Testimonies of recent arrivals from Eritrea indicate that involuntary open-ended military conscription, arbitrary arrest and detention without trial, compulsory land acquisition and other systematic human rights violations by the State remain prevalent.

In addition, a number of new arrivals have cited family-reunification with relatives residing in Ethiopia or third countries as a secondary motivation for their flight. Following the signing of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship by the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea in July 2018, two official border crossing points were reopened in September 2018.

The reopening of these border crossing points has contributed to an increase in the
average daily rate of new arrivals from 50 person per day to approximately 390 individuals up to the end of the year.

Of particular concern is the high number of unaccompanied and separated children arriving in Ethiopia fleeing impending military conscription, with a disproportionate impact on teenage boys. Children accounted for 44 percent of the total refugee population residing in the Tigray camps, of whom 27 percent arrive unaccompanied or separated from their families.

A key challenge in providing protection, assistance and solutions to Eritrean refugees concerns the high number of individuals leaving the camps to pursue onward movements.

In 2017, over 24,000 Eritrean refugees left the camps in the Tigray Region. While a portion of this onward movement is to urban centres within Ethiopia, the majority are believed to leave the country; motivated by the desire to reunite with relatives, access
improved educational services and earn an income to support family numbers that have remained in Eritrea.

The onward movement of unaccompanied and separated children remains substantial with an average departure rate of 300 per month. While a total of 13,000 Eritrean refugees benefit from the OCP, the official figure is anticipated to rise considerably in line with the number of new arrivals at the close of the year who were granted OCP status.

In 2019, additional investment will be made in reception and registration services, together with a transition to the provision of sustainable WASH and energy services for both refugees and the host community.

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