Operation: Opération: Djibouti



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Key Figures

2019 planning figures
100% of people of concern will have access to national primary health-care facilities
6,000 targeted refugee children will be enrolled in primary schools
4,000 persons of concern will receive long-term or permanent shelter
2017 year-end results
3,900 refugee children were enrolled in primary education
530 Somali refugees were assisted to voluntarily return to Somalia
54 refugees (39 Somalis and 15 Eritreans) were resettled to Canada and the United States of America

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 27,004
2016 25,862
2015 22,006


[["Refugees",17554],["Asylum-seekers",9361],["Others of concern",89]]
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2017 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[26.95790235,41.39620267,31.98783036,31.80505653,26.7309307,16.9251478],"expenditure":[7.38017953,10.5087068,11.1475553,12.07126509,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[26.95790235,41.39620267,31.98783036,31.80505653,26.7309307,16.9251478],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[7.38017953,10.5087068,11.1475553,12.07126509,null,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
  • 2018
  • 2019

Working environment

More than 60 per cent of the working age population in Djibouti are unemployed. The challenging economic situation, including the limited access to jobs, continued to have an impact on UNHCR’s work and on the ability of its people of concern to become self-reliant or access livelihoods. As a result, refugees and asylum seekers continue to depend heavily on the humanitarian assistance.
Due to violence in Oromia Region of Ethiopia, Djibouti received an influx of some 4,900 new arrivals in 2016, majority of whom were of the Oromo ethnic group (89 per cent).
Djibouti is also a transit point for migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, crossing into Yemen and through Middle East further to Europe. It is estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 migrants transit through Djibouti on a monthly basis. 

Population trends

  • The total Population of Concern to UNHCR stood at almost 26,000 by end of 2016, with refugees form Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
  • Close to 5,000 Ethiopian asylum-seekers were received in the last quarter of 2016, due to violence in Ethiopia. 

Achiements and impact

  • Adoption of the National Refugee Law by the Parliament in 2016 with subsequent promulgation by the President in January 2017.
  • Under-5 mortality rate reduced from 3 to 0.09 in Ali Addeh refugee camp, and from 2.3 to 1.8 in Holl-Holl camp.

Unmet needs

  • Due to funding constraints, no livelihood activities or vocational training were implemented.
  • Likewise, durable shelters could not be provided to all refugees who have been living in the camps for more than two decades.
  • Local integration of refugee children into the national system could not materialize. Discussions are still ongoing between UNHCR and the Ministry of Education on the curriculum to apply that would be in compliance with UNHCR policy while serving the best interests of the refugee children. 

In Djibouti, the poverty rate is around 40 per cent and unemployment affects up to 60 per cent of the population. In this difficult environment, the country is hosting close to 15,500 refugees, composed of Somalis (77 per cent), Ethiopians (16 per cent), Eritreans (6 per cent) and others (1 per cent).

Given the lack of resources in the country, refugees depend solely on humanitarian aid. Access to farmland and drinking water remain important challenges. The Kenyan education curriculum used in camp-based schools is not recognized by the Governments of Djibouti and Somalia’s governments. In public hospitals, refugees are not considered as “vulnerable”, meaning that UNHCR pays their full medical fees.

In 2016, UNHCR’s operational priorities are to:
  • Support the adoption of a national law on asylum
  • Ensure access to the territory for asylum-seekers by reinforcing the National Eligibility Commission
  • Ensure the delivery of birth certificates for refugee children born in Djibouti
  • Promote livelihoods and activities aimed at self-reliance
  • Respond to the basic needs of refugees
  • Promote Djibouti’s ratification of the statelessness conventions
UNHCR and its Government counterpart, ONARS (Office National pour l’Assistance aux Réfugiés et Sinistrés), will facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees to Somaliland and Puntland, as well as their local integration or resettlement to third countries, where applicable.