The Republic of Djibouti occupies a strategic position in the East and Horn of Africa region. It borders Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia and opens onto the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The country is politically stable and constitutes an island of peace and protection in a region marred by recurrent conflicts. Djibouti is also a hub for international naval forces combating piracy in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes stretching from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean.
The country is located at the confluence of Africa and the Gulf countries. This privileged position has made Djibouti the main route for mixed migratory movements toward Yemen and beyond. Armed conflict, insecurity and violence, compounded by drought and poor economic conditions in the subregion, have compelled people to seek asylum in Djibouti. There are regular arrivals of refugees, especially from south-central Somalia in the country. Ensuring refugee protection in the context of these migratory patterns remains a daunting task for UNHCR and the Government of Djibouti.
Due to the unabated arrivals of asylum-seekers from Somalia throughout 2012, the number of people of concern has increased in Djibouti, stretching UNHCR’s budget and necessitating additional human and financial resources.
While there have been tangible improvements in the water, health, nutrition and education sectors to some degree, gaps have been identified in secondary and tertiary education and vocational training, hampering better future prospects for refugee children.
In Djibouti, the national unemployment rate is very high at around 30 per cent. The aridity of the land, coupled with dire climatic conditions and frequent drought, does not allow refugees to engage in agricultural activities. Hence, interventions in areas of self-reliance and livelihoods are needed in order to give refugees and asylum-seekers the possibility of earning a living. All shelters in Djibouti are made of plastic sheets and tents.
The arid climate in a semi-desert environment limits the lifespan of these shelters. The construction of durable and environment-friendly shelters will therefore be supported to help protect refugees from weather hazards in the camps.
As there are no opportunities for local integration in Djibouti, resettlement remains the only available and viable durable solution to alleviate the protracted situation of refugees living in camps. The number of resettlement applicants will therefore be substantially increased.