Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) said Ethiopia has been implementing various projects to mitigate secondary refugee movements in collaboration with donors and development partners.
Administration Communication and Public Relations Team Leader Suleyman Ali told The Ethiopian Herald that the recent discussion with EU on a wide ranging migration issues would help galvanizing the ongoing government's efforts in mitigating secondary refugee movements.
The team leader stressed that ARRA and its partners have been tirelessly working towards improving refugee camp services and increasing resources to new initiatives that would greatly make a difference in the refugees' lives.
‘‘Various empowering programmes like livelihoods diversification, job creation and skills training have been provided to the refugees over the past few years. The Ethiopian government has put in place out-of-camp policy which offers ample job and higher education opportunities to many refugees,’’ he noted.
Besides economic benefits, the policy has created conducive environment to refugees with serious protection concerns and also those who need special medical attention, according to him.
Suleyman underlined that the situation in Somalia is hugely improving due to the AMISOM efforts to ensure peace in the country while the Eritreans and South Sudanese situation is deteriorating from time to time.
"Though the terrorist group Al-shabab still poses serious threat, Somalia is regaining its peace and stability. Because of this, the Somali refugee influx to Ethiopia has decreased over the last few years. However, due to civil war broke out between government and rebels in South Sudan and the gross human right abuse, compulsory military conscription and dictatorship in Eritrea, hundreds of refugees are crossing the Ethiopian borders every day,’’ he noted.
United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesperson, Kisut Gebregzabher for his part said apart from coordinating international action for the protection and assistance of refugees and asylum seekers, UNHCR has been working with the Ethiopian government and other partners to provide lasting solution to the problems of refugees.
He added that UNHCR has been providing basic assistance and services to refugees and asylum seekers, including registration, documentation, shelter, food, water, sanitation and health, education, training, as well as livelihood support in partnership with the Ethiopian Government and others.
Kisut stressed that Ethiopia’s refugee handling would strengthen the people to people relations among neighbouring countries and magnify the country’s open door policy towards refugees.
‘‘Ethiopia is the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa. South Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans and Sudanese are four of the largest refugee groups in the country. UNHCR and its partners are providing every necessary supply to the refugees’’
The spokesperson highlighted that though Ethiopia has resource constraints, it has received and hosted more than 800,000 refugees, establishing 25 refugee camps in various states of the country and called for the international community to step up its support to address the country’s burden.
Recently, the United Kingdom has pledged to create 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia, as part of a wider campaign to tackle secondary migration crisis, it was learnt.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS