One-stop-shops in Ethiopia to provide essential services for refugees

Centres dedicated to providing essential services for refugees is launching across Ethiopia to support access to common services in line with the country’s new refugee law.

The first centre opened in Benishangul-Gumuz, in Western Ethiopia, to serve refugees in the Bambasi Camp and others from the local community. Those in the vicinity can now access essential services such as the registration of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths and receive protection referrals and civil documentation at a one-stop-shop style centre. It is the first of 27 such facilities to be established throughout Ethiopia to support the integration of services for refugees with national systems.

The one-stop-shop is financed by the European Union and made operational by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ethiopia’s Vital Events Registration Agency (VERA) and the Ethiopian Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA). The centre can issue proof of registration documents, ID cards, and civil registration certificates as soon as it receives a request.

“By providing services to refugees and their host communities in one centre, the One-Stop-Shops represents a good start in the ongoing drive to integrate services used by refugees and their hosts, leading to eventual inclusion of the two communities in line with the new refugee law,” said Amdework Yehualawork, the Head ARRA’s regional office in Assosa.

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia said: “The One-Stop-Shop and the services provided in it will facilitate the government’s out-of-camp policy which foresees a significant number of refugees living and working outside of refugee camps.”

“Refugees, including those in Bambasi Camp, having obtained nationally recognised proof of registration and refugee ID cards at the One-Stop-Shop, will have the means to access basic services provided by the government throughout the country.”

Ethiopia has passed legislation to integrate more than 900,000 refugees and is currently working to include refugees in national systems. The initiative is in line with the Global Compact on Refugees which promotes the provision of common services and infrastructure for both refugees and local communities.

TMP – 14/06/2019

Photo credit: Alvaro Villanueva / Shutterstock

Photo caption: A remote village in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of western Ethiopia.