Ethiopia increases support for refugees

Photo credit: Aid to the Church in Need-ACN. Eritrean refugees in northern Ethiopia

TMP – 06/12/2017

The Government of Ethiopia has formally launched its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) – an initiative that will enable the country to implement the nine pledges it made at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September 2016 in New York.

Through the pledges, Ethiopia hopes to help refugees support themselves, encourage peaceful co-existence with local communities and include refugees in development plans, Reliefweb reports.

Ato Solomon Tesfaye, State Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister, said his government is committed to changing the way it approaches refugee support, moving away from focusing on refugee camps, towards supporting refugees to live within local communities.

“The Government of Ethiopia, while maintaining its doors open to refugees, envisages to gradually put an end to the encampment policy in the next ten years and progressively advance the out of camp and local integration options,” he said.

When Ethiopia adopted the New York Declaration in September 2016, the country committed to a number of measures to transform the lives of refugees, such as issuing work permits and other important documents to refugees and increasing employment opportunities, including through its industrial parks.

Daniel Endres, Director of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) CRRF task team, said the new framework is already transforming the lives of refugees in Ethiopia by increasing school enrollment rates for refugee children and issuing vital documents, including birth certificates.

“The pledges Ethiopia made and the actions it’s taking today are exemplary and inspire many African states,” he said.

According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is currently home to over 850,000 refugees. South Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese refugees make up the four largest refugee populations in Ethiopia.