UNHCR Ethiopia Fact Sheet June 2016



  • The Government of Ethiopia generally maintains open borders for refugees seeking protection in the country. A party to both the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Convention, the Government provides protection to refugees from some 20 countries, with the majority originating from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. 
  • Most asylum-seekers are granted automatic refugee status. Individual refugee status determination is undertaken for all other asylum seekers through a government Eligibility Committee, on which UNHCR sits as an observer. 
  • Refugees and asylum-seekers are generally expected by the Government to reside in camps, although some are permitted to reside in urban areas for medical, security, or humanitarian reasons. There are some 17,345 such refugees in Addis Ababa. The Government’s “Out of Camp Policy” provides Eritrean refugees the opportunity to live in Addis Ababa and other non-camp locations if they have the necessary means to support themselves. Key protection concerns for the country operation include child protection, education and sexual and gender-based violence. The situation of Eritrean unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in Shire is of particular concern, given the limited family-based care options. 
  • UNHCR and ARRA started verification of urban-based Eritrean refugees on 16 May, starting with the capital Addis Ababa where the majority of them are believed to be staying. Verifications will also be undertaken in Mekele and Shire towns in the Tigray Region as well as Semera in the Afar Region. 


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