With more than 900,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living inside the country, Ethiopia is home to the second largest refugee population in Africa. The majority of refugees in Ethiopia come from three countries: South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.
See our Tigray Refugee Crisis Explainer for the latest on the situation in the region.
In addition to a large refugee population, Ethiopia has more than one million internally displaced people (IDPs). Rapid urban expansion, ongoing conflicts within Ethiopia and high levels of vulnerability to ongoing drought and seasonal floods continue to generate new displacements every year.
Education, employment opportunities and access to water are three major challenges refugees in Ethiopia face today. UNHCR has more than 500 staff on the ground addressing these issues and others like, access to shelter, food and healthcare.
Safe access to clean water remains a serious issue for refugees in Ethiopia. In some areas, refugees walk all day to reach clean water. Women and girls, who are often tasked with gathering water, are at an increased risk of sexual- and gender-based violence as they walk alone for many hours.
Education is a top UNHCR priority in Ethiopia because nearly 60 percent of the refugee population is under the age of 18. UNHCR has partnered with local organizations to help enroll more refugee children in primary school. These efforts have been successful and in regions like Jijiga, where 85 percent of all primary-school aged refugee children are now enrolled in school.
UNHCR continues to expand educational opportunities for refugees, provide specialized training for teachers, encourage girls to stay in school and improve access to university and vocational training for older students.
Local integration provides the chance for refugees to live a dignified life while building a better future. Many refugees in Ethiopia have been displaced from their homes for more than a generation and have been unable to work legally within the country.
On January 17, 2019 Ethiopia passed a new law that allows refugees to obtain work permits and other legal documents. Refugees can now work legally, formally register births and marriages and access financial services such as bank accounts. These historic changes will help refugees integrate fully into and contribute to their local communities.
Resolve to help refugees in 2019...
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