UNHCR applauds Ethiopia’s efforts in bringing peace within the region and support refugees through progressive policies
October 10, 2019
The Ethiopian delegation headed by Ambassador Zenebe Kebede is participating at the 70th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme which is being held from October 7-11 in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by 102 countries. In a statement delivered today, Mr Addisu Kebenessa Ebsa, Deputy Director-General of Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs noted that the democratic reform process Ethiopia embarked on since February 2018 is yielding a positive outcome in the peace and security of the region. He said the Ethiopian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed has played key role in the signing of the Constitutional Declaration in Sudan and the progress made in implementation of the transitional arrangements in South Sudan. These efforts, he noted, prevented violence and humanitarian consequences.
On another note, Mr. Addisu, highlighted the growing funding gap as a challenge to provide assistance and protection to close to 940,000 refugees Ethiopia hosts. However, he highlighted that despite limited international support, Ethiopia has made substantial strides in creating an enabling condition for a comprehensive and inclusive refugee response to improve the lives of the well being of refugees and host communities in Ethiopia. He said’ ’Our Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed have shown remarkable commitment towards refugees by enacting new refugee law, reorganizing an independent Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs and enactment of a new civil society law to put in place the required legal and institutional infrastructure for an inclusive and comprehensive refugee response.’’ Discussing the advances made in providing education to refugees, he said, primary education has reached 74% while secondary education stands at 12%. He added that 3,600 refugees are studying at different universities in Ethiopia with the support of the Government of Ethiopia.
Furthermore, Mr. Addisu called UNHCR to support Ethiopia by providing robust reintegration packages to Ethiopian refugees who are requesting to return and start life in Ethiopia and contribute their share in the development of their nation. In relation to fighting statelessness, Ethiopia pledged to achieve universal registration of refugees and issuance of birth certificates to all refugee children in Ethiopia by 2024. Ethiopia also noted that it will participate at the highest level in the upcoming Global Refugee Forum which will be held from December 17-18, 2019 in Geneva.
In responding to Ethiopia’s statement, UNHCR’s High Commissioner Mr. Filipo Grandi appreciated Ethiopia’s key role in bringing peace in the region and its importance to finding solutions to refugees. He assured that UNHCR will scale up its support to ensure that Ethiopian returnees get sufficient support allowing them to sustainably reintegrate in their own country. He called the international community to increase its support to Ethiopia, which he said shoulders substantial responsibility in hosting refugees.
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