Addis Abeba – Refugees International, the global advocacy organization for the rights of displaced people, said it was “deeply concerned about media reports that the Ethiopian government has rounded up more than 100 Eritrean refugees in and around Addis Abeba and forcibly moved them to the refugee camps near the unstable Amhara-Tigray border.”
In a statement the organization sent to Addis Standard, it said the area where the refugees is being relocated “is particularly dangerous for Eritrean refugees who have been displaced multiple times and have faced attacks, kidnapping, discrimination, and other rights violations since Ethiopia’s civil war in November 2020.”
Furthermore, Refugees International said Eritreans have been targeted by aggressors on all sides, including Eritrean troops active inside Ethiopia, and occasionally combatants from the Tigray Defense Forces, Amharan militia, and others. Additionally, the UN Refugee Agency and other aid groups have regularly been denied access to these refugee-hosting areas. The move violates Ethiopia’s domestic and international obligations to protect refugees.
“This is not the first time the Ethiopian authorities have targeted the Eritrean refugees for forced return. In December 2020, the government forced Eritrean refugees in Addis Abeba onto buses and drove them to the Tigray region’s Adi Harush and Mai Ani refugee camps. This abuse must end,” Abdullahi Halakhe, Refugees International’s Senior Advocate for East and Southern Africa, said.
Refugees International called on all actors to respect domestic and international law by not forcing refugees back to places where they might be in danger. “Refugees should have access to their rights, including freedom of movement, and should be offered protection and assistance by the government of Ethiopia and the humanitarian community. Parties to the conflict should work toward peace and never target refugees and other civilians.” AS