Ethiopia has a long standing history of hosting refugees. The country maintains an open door policy for refugee inflows and allows humanitarian access and protection to those seeking asylum on its territory. In 2004, a national Refugee Proclamation was enacted based on the international and regional refugee conventions to which Ethiopia is a party (1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Convention).
Ethiopia’s parliament adopted revisions to its existing national refugee law on 17 January 2019, making it one of the most progressive refugee policies in Africa. The Law provides refugees with the right to work and reside out of camps, access social and financial services, and register life events, including births and marriages. Refugee protection in the country is provided within the framework of these international and national refugee laws as well as the core international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the country. Continued insecurity within neighbouring states has resulted in sustained refugee movements, either directly as a result of internal conflict and human rights abuses or as a result of conflict related to competition for scare natural resources and drought related food insecurity.
IIt is projected that Ethiopia will host 860,000 refugees by the end of 2020, mainly from South Sudan (450,000), Eritrea (150,000) and Somalia (170,000). This projection does not reflect the outcome of the ongoing verification exercise, taking place as part of country-wide Level 3 registration that will conclude in March 2019. The reduction in the refugee population from Somalia anticipates an improvement in the general security situation in the country. Within a global climate of limited humanitarian and development financing that has led to critical shortfalls in food assistance, limited opportunities for third-country resettlement, together with only modest support to youth and a growing population of unaccompanied and separated children, bold financial commitments - for essential humanitarian services and a sustainable solutions-based response - will be needed over the next two years to harness the CRRF’s transformational agenda.