Ethiopia hosts 905,831 refugees and asylum seekers within its borders, including the 36,185 who arrived since the start of 2018.
The Government of Ethiopia has committed to address the concerns of refugees, including a pledge to grant local integration to those who have lived in the country for 20 years and above.
Resettlement remains the chief durable solution for refugees in Ethiopia, but limited quotas mean that only 3,240 refugees will be referred to resettlement countries in 2018.
UNHCR supports the Government of Ethiopia in discharging its international obligations, fulfilling the organization’s core objectives to provide refugees and other persons of concern with international protection, and to seek durable solutions for them. The three traditional durable solutions are complementary and are pursued together:
- Voluntary repatriation, in which refugees return in safety and with dignity to their countries of origin and re-avail themselves of national protection;
- Resettlement, in which refugees are selected and transferred from the country of refuge to a third state which has agreed to admit them as refugees with permanent residence status; and
- Local integration, in which refugees legally, economically and socially integrate in the host country, availing themselves of the national protection of the host government.
UNHCR and partners support livelihoods programmes for refugees in order to reduce vulnerability and dependency on humanitarian assistance. Refugees who actively support themselves are better equipped to take on the challenges of any of the durable solutions. UNHCR recognizes the stress that the presence of refugees can place on already-impoverished host communities and works closely with development actors and regional governments to mitigate the impact. UNHCR advocates for complementarity of services for refugees and host communities, and seeks to ensure that refugees are included in their intervention and development plans, thereby promoting peaceful co-existence.
UNHCR Ethiopia is committed to assisting refugees in accessing complementary legal pathways including family reunification and other humanitarian migration programmes, such as private sponsorship, study and employment possibilities. UNHCR Ethiopia continues to issue refugees with proof of registration documents and provides advice on how to process family reunification cases. Specifically, UNHCR directly assists unregistered refugee children in accessing the services and documentation necessary to reunite with their family members abroad. UNHCR Ethiopia is also involved in the issuance of Convention Travel Documents (CTDs), which permits refugees to undertake international travel for employment, education and to seek medical treatment unavailable in Ethiopia.
The innovative Italian Humanitarian Corridor program was officially launched in 2017 and aims to relocate 500 refugees to Italy. UNHCR has undertaken this project with two faith-based organizations, Caritas Italiana and Sant’Egidio Community, through which refugees with family links in Italy as well as those with protection and medical vulnerabilities are able to find a durable solution. To date, 327 refugees have departed for new lives in Italy.