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UNHCR High Commissioner Commends Ethiopia's Refugee Policy

Friday, July 12, 2013

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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.

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