Operation: Opération: Eritrea



Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2016 end-year results
246 people with specific needs were identified and monitored
52 refugee households (297 people) were enrolled in livelihood activities
25 awareness-raising sessions on female genital mutilation practices were organized
20 liters of water were provided per person per day
2017 planning figures
100% of food baskets distributed will meet the recommendations set out in the latest needs assessment, carried out by a joint assessment mission (JAM)
85% of people of concern will return voluntarily, in safety and dignity
80% of the process towards becoming a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees will be achieved
75% of identified children of concern with specific needs will be assisted
45% of people of concern identified as being in need of resettlement will be submitted for resettlement
40% of people of concern (18-59 years) will have their own business or be self-employed for more than 12 months

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2016 2,367
2015 2,557
2014 2,920


[["Refugees",2342],["Asylum-seekers",8],["Returned refugees",1],["Others of concern",16]]
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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"budget":[7.10223845,5.67766065,6.18688585,5.913216673,4.89103671,3.8990943],"expenditure":[4.44231882,4.13881805,4.70862342,3.548472,3.52431606,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[7.10223845,5.67766065,6.18688585,5.913216673,4.89103671,3.8990943],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017],"p1":[4.44231882,4.13881805,4.70862342,3.548472,3.52431606,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017

Working environment

In 2012, the State of Eritrea signed the 1969 OAU Convention on the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, but has not yet ratified it. A dialogue with respect to consideration for the signing of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol continued in 2016.
There is no progress with regards to the Ethio-Eritrea boarder issue. Despite the military violence that broke out in the Southern border in June 2016, the security situation in the country remained stable.
During the immediate period following the change in national currency, there was a noticeable price reduction on consumable commodities, but was followed by an inflation which has sustained to date. The financial restrictions and regulations continued with strong impact on business transactions.
The Strategic Partnership Cooperative Framework agreement (SPCF) 2018-2021 was signed between the UN agencies and the Government of Eritrea in September 2016. UNHCR maintained active engagement with the locally available INGOs. A briefing meeting was conducted for Embassies based in Eritrea. The working relationship with the governmental partner Office for Refugee Affairs (ORA) and the line ministries remained warm during the year. A major challenge was the suspension of exit visa for the Somali refugees, hence both resettlement and voluntary return showed no progress since May 2016. 

Population trends

In 2016 the number of refugees decreased from some 2,550 refugees and 1 asylum-seeker (at the beginning of the year) to some 2,340 refugees and 8 asylum-seekers (at year end). 

Achiements and impact

  • Re-launching of the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) working group; and
  • Commencement of efforts to switch from water trucking to solar pumping through municipality lines.

Unmet needs

  • The ERN 400 (USD 26) cash for food assistance was not sufficient to cater for nutritional needs considering the more than 100 per cent market inflation with regard to essential food items;
  • Out of 180 households eligible for livelihood assistance, only 52 households (297 people) were assisted during the year;
  • Out of 488 households (2,342 people) in the camp, only 56 (336 people) had access to semi-permanent shelters; and
  • No vocational training was available for students who dropped out of school or those who could not earn the necessary scores to join higher educational levels.

Operational context and population trends

The Government of Eritrea is demonstrating efforts to improve the socio-economic situation of the country even though job opportunities remain limited.

UNHCR’s protection and assistance activities target mainly Somali refugees and are heavily affected by funding constraints, high inflation rates and rising operational costs. In 2016, UNHCR in Eritrea will continue to advocate for enhanced durable solutions, Eritrea’s accession to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the establishment of a favorable protection environment.

Since 2012, UNHCR has registered very few new arrivals in Eritrea. Following recent developments in Yemen, 27 Somali refugees from Yemen arrived in Eritrea in 2015; however the situation is expected to remain more or less the same as there are no documented movements towards Eritrea to the best of UNHCR’s knowledge. By the end of January 2016, UNHCR’s total population of concern, including camp-based and urban refugees, stood at 2,500 individuals.

Key priorities in 2016

In addition to pursuing core protection activities and lifesaving assistance, UNHCR will invest in:

  • Promoting solutions-oriented programmes such as repatriation, resettlement and local integration activities through livelihood and self-reliance projects that target refugees and host communities, in addition to progressively integrating refugees into the national healthcare and education systems, water services, and development programmes;
  • Building the capacity of UNHCR’s government counterpart in Eritrea;
  • Enhancing SGBV prevention and response mechanisms and carrying out periodic reviews of SGBV standard operating procedures;
  • Strengthening child protection mechanisms mainly through close monitoring of children at risk, including orphans, single parent children, and children with special needs. Best interest assessments will be systematically carried out;
  • Strengthening the Office’s engagement with the Government of Eritrea and partnerships with other UN agencies and development actors, including with a focus on mixed migration.