Child refugee protection centre opens in Addis Ababa

Photo: Vatican Radio 2017

TMP – 14/11/2017

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ethiopia, a Catholic organisation that works with refugees, has launched the first ever child protection centre in Addis Ababa to respond to the needs of refugee children living in and around the city.
Ethiopia is home to the second largest refugee population in Africa. Over 840,000 refugees live in the country, mostly from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

The JRS cites figures that suggest children represent 35% of the total number of registered refugees in Addis Ababa. Many of these are unaccompanied minors or otherwise vulnerable children. JRS says the new centre will address the protection needs of these vulnerable children through case management, the establishment of child friendly spaces and by providing education services.

The centre says it has already begun working with 150 child refugees and plans to vastly increase the number in the coming year. It is funded by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Speaking at the launch of the centre, Fiseha Meseret from the Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) expressed the continued commitment of the Ethiopian government to ensure the protection of refugees.

“We are now undertaking concrete efforts to provide legal and policy provisions mainly aimed at improving the lives of refugees and host communities, including refugees living in urban centers like Addis Ababa. … Among these commitments are provision and expansion of education for school age children. We believe that every child has the right to play and education,” Meseret said.