- Due to its geographical position, as well as environmental and geo-political developments in the region, Ethiopia is likely to continue to receive asylumseekers from neighbouring countries in 2014 and 2015. The country has a history of receiving people displaced by cross-border movements due to droughts, conflicts, political events and civil wars in neighbouring countries, including Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. The Government of Ethiopia maintains an open-door-policy and has continuously allowed humanitarian access and protection to those seeking refuge on its territory.
- Ethiopia received over 44,000 new arrivals in the first eight months of 2013, leading to a total population of concern of more than 400,000 people, who are mainly accommodated in camps throughout the country. The Government has been generous in allocating land for the 18 existing camps, including in Dollo Ado, Shire, Gambella and Assosa, and for new camps to be opened as the majority of existing camps have reached their maximum capacity. In addition, the Government provides police forces in the camps and facilitates customs clearance for internationally procured items.
- Eritrean refugees, including unaccompanied minors who continue to arrive in increasing numbers, tend to move on from Ethiopia to a third country, a situation which presents a major challenge in providing protection.
- There are no provisions under Ethiopia’s law for local integration of refugees. While the country maintains reservations to the 1951 Convention, notably to Articles 17-19, it supports an out-of-camp scheme, allowing refugees to live outside refugee camps and engage in informal sector activities as livelihood opportunities. The main beneficiaries thus far have been students absorbed into universities, whose fees are paid for by the Government (75 per cent) and UNHCR (25 per cent).
- Environmental degradation around camps, the fragile ecosystem and scarce resources have led to tensions between host communities and refugees in some locations. UNHCR is working with partners and the Government to address and mitigate the situation within the confines of limited resources.