Friday, July 12, 2013
In a discussion held with Foreign Minister
Dr. Tedros today( July 11) at his offices, UNHCR High Commissioner
Antonio Guterres commended Ethiopia's open border and protection policy
of refugees .
He expressed his gratitude to the government of Ethiopia for the
remarkable activities it accomplished in hosting refuges from its
neighboring countries. He said "currently no other country hosts such a
large number of refugees coming from different countries " adding that "
Ethiopia is hosting two generation of refugees from Somalia and South
Sudan and Eritrea despite the challenges it is facing in the form of
budgetary strains, security challenges and environmental impact as more
camps are opened.
"The high Commissioner affirmed that in spite of the financial
challenges UNHCR is facing, it will continue to support Ethiopia in its
activities of supporting refugees through ARA. Commissioner Antonio
Guterres briefed Dr. Tedros about his current visit to Kenya and
Somalia. He said his talks with high level officials of Kenya about
Somali refugees were productive as there is mutual understanding between
the two sides that all repatriation of refugees should be voluntary and
needs to be done in an orderly manner.
UNHCR and Kenya agreed to form a tripartite committee to discuss the
future of Somali refugees. Dr. Tedros for his part stressed Ethiopia's
firm stance in supporting its neighbors in times of crisis. He said
"Ethiopia's open border policy is a means to maintain the
people-to-people relation of Ethiopia and its neighbors even amidst
crisis". He also highlighted the long term effect of his policy in
bringing peace and stability within the region.
He highlighted how Ethiopia's "out -of -camp scheme" is helping in
changing the lives of refugees. He said "owing to our belief that
refugees in many countries had helped in the transformation of the host
countries in Ethiopia is offering scholarships in its universities to
make them productive to their host country, to their country and even
the world". With regard to the refugees in Somalia in Kenya, Dr. Tedros
affirmed Ethiopia's readiness to assist the efforts of UNHCR through
IGAD and other forums.