UNCHR: Refugees Update, 11-12/'95

UNCHR: Refugees Update, 11-12/'95

* Forwarded from "AFRICA.HORN"
* Originally by Ben Parker, 5:7311/70
* Originally to All
* Originally dated 16 Feb 1996, 9:20

Refugees Update is a monthly publication from the UNHCR Regional Liaison Office for Africa (UNHCR RLO) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on current refugee, returnee activities in Ethiopia.

For more information, please contact Marwan Elkhoury, Information Officer, UNHCR RLO

Tel. no. 251-1-61 28 22
Fax. no. 251-1-61 16 66


Refugee Update
Vol. 2 No. 8
November, December 1995

In this issue:
1. Home, at last !
2. Influx of Sudanese refugees in Western Ethiopia
3. Launching the State of the World s Refugees 1995
4. Refugee Statistics for 1995
5. Repatriation Statistics for 1995

1. Home, at last !
With the arrival of the last train from Djibouti on November 7th carrying 1,184 Ethiopian returnees, the repatriation operation of Ethiopians from Djibouti was finally completed. 31, 617 Ethiopians were repatriated by train from Djibouti since the beginning of the operation which started in September 1994. Some 2,500 residual cases who remained in Djibouti may be repatriated at a later stage after their refugee status has clearly been ascertained.

In another development, the first convoy carrying some 750 Ethiopian refugees reached Humera on 15 December, heading for the Amhara Region. The convoy of some 40 trucks came from Tawawa refugee camp in Gedaref, eastern Sudan. Until year's end, six convoys were organized with a total of 4,421 returnees to the Amhara and Tigray Administrative Regions. Since the start of the registration on 30 November, over 20,000 refugees residing in seven camps of eastern Sudan have registered for voluntary repatriation. This, indeed, shows a great enthusiasm on the refugees part to return home after many years in exile. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 Ethiopian refugees are expected to repatriate from Sudan following an agreement reached between the governments of Ethiopia, Sudan and UNHCR for the resumption of the second phase of operations. This agreement was reached at a high-level meeting held in Khartoum between the Sudanese Commission for Refugees (COR), the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee/Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and UNHCR. The operation should be completed by next June, before the onset of rains. In the past three years, some 27,300 refugees have repatriated from Sudan to Administrative Regions 1,3, 4, 5 and 14.

The registration for voluntary repatriation is expected to end on 31 March 1996, subject to review based on developments on the ground. Convoys from the Sudan will initially consist of a maximum of 750 returnees. The convoys will arrive in Endekwaja in Humera district, Tigray Region, every three days.

As most of the refugees were farmers, the bulk of the movement should take place before the next planting season (belg rain). Returnees would receive, on arrival, food for three months provided by the World Food Programm (WFP) and non-food items such as blanket, kitchen utensils, plastic sheeting. A cash grant of ETB. 1,500.00 would be distributed to each returnee family within 60 days of arrival together with another 6 months WFP food rations at final destinations.

In another development, a convoy with 530 returnees aboard, was organised on December 10 from Dadaab, Kenya, to Moyale. An airlift repatriation from Dadaab to Gode in the Ethiopian-Somali Region was also expected to resume in early January. Some 3,750 Ethiopians have registered for voluntary repatriation from various refugee camps and other locations in Kenya to mainly Gode in eastern Ethiopia.

Reintegration activities for returnees from Djibouti and Kenya - rehabilitation of primary schools, improvement of water facilities, distribution of agricultural hand tools, fertilisers, seeds and livestock, beehives and equipment for income-generating activities - are being undertaken in returnee areas of the Somali and Oromo Regional National States (Regions 4 and 5). Regarding returnees from the Sudan, reintegration activities - construction of primary schools, health clinics and drilling of boreholes and maintenance of existing water facilities - were undertaken in Adabai, Rawyan, Mycadra, Humera, Metemma, Kokit, Shehedi and Kumar in Tigray and Amhara Regional National States (Regions 1 and 3).

2. Influx of Sudanese refugees in Western Ethiopia

Our offices in Gambella and Mizan in western Ethiopia reported recently a trickle of new arrivals from Southern Sudan in the wake of renewed fighting in the south. In this context, UNHCR is preparing for a possible further influx of Sudanese refugees in the next one to two months. The prevailing tension in southern Sudan has triggered unrest in Dimma refugee camp and in Mizan secondary high-school refugee dormitory. Some 300 refugees from Dimma were under police custody following fighting which erupted in early November in the camp. Detainees were subsequently released except for six ringleaders. Violence erupted early December in Mizan high school dormitory, injuring 50 refugee students, of whom 15 seriously. Calm was reinstated in the camp and in the school but the situation remains tense. A high-level delegation from UNHCR and ARRA visited the area to discuss with the refugees and the regional authorities the necessary measures to take to restore calm and tranquillity in the camp.

In another development, a joint team from UNHCR and ARRA travelled to Suftu in mid-December to transfer the Sudanese asylum seekers previously stranded on a no man's land island on river Dawa on the Ethiopian- Kenyan border to Fugnido in western Ethiopia (See previous October 1995 issue). Of the 150 Sudanese asylum seekers who had opted to go to Fugnido, 41 were eventually transferred to the camp. Some had reportedly crossed to Ifo in Kenya, others did not show up on the day of transfer and the rest dropped en route.

The refugees will now be assisted in the camp, being provided with food, water, shelter, health and education. Out of the 41 who moved to Fugnido, 23 had completed secondary school, 13 primary and 4 were university undergraduates.

The Southern Sudanese refugees claimed to have fled northern Sudan in mid-1995 due to persecution. From Khartoum, they had travelled in different groups, through Port Sudan, Kassala, Tesseney in Eritrea, moved to Djibouti, Hargeisa in the self-declared Somaliland to reach the Ethiopian- Kenyan border near Suftu.

3. Launching the State of the World s Refugees 1995

"The question of refugees and bad governance were intrinsically related", said H.E. Ambassador Bomina N soni Longange, Ambassador of Zaire and Chairman of the OAU Commission of 20 on Refugees, at the launching of the 1995 State of the World Refugees in Addis Ababa on November 15. Ambassador Bomina N soni Longange added that the time when Africa was courted by one block or another during the cold war era was over. Today Africa had to wake up and tackle its problems by itself.

Ato Ayelew, ARRA Coordinator, highlighted the mixed refugee situation in the Horn -- no sooner has a solution to one refugee crisis been found than a new one seemed to emerge. The government representative stated that the new approach to tackle the refugee crisis -- more pro-active, homeland oriented and preventive -- was in line with the Plan of Action agreed in the 1992 IGADD Summit held in Addis Ababa, which called for peaceful resolution of conflicts, improvement of the economic status of the countries of the Horn, the promotion of voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration of the refugees.

The 1995 State of the World s Refugees report adds that the international community should pursue a much more dynamic and far-sighted approach if the recent spate of refugee crises are to be solved and new ones prevented. For many years, UNHCR and its operational partners waited for refugees to cross international borders before providing them with protection and assistance. The subsequent search for solutions to their plight focused primarily on the question of the refugees physical location: whether they should repatriate to their homeland, integrate in the society where they had found refuge or move on to a third country and settle down there.

But the limitations of these traditional solutions, coupled with the growing scale of the refugee problem and the changing nature of the international political and economic order, have prompted UNHCR to develop a new approach to the question of human displacement.

"People flee because there are governments that persecute them for reasons of political, ethnic and religious causes. People flee because there are internal wars and they are fleeing for their safety. People flee because their government is no longer able to provide them with state protection, so it s the weakness of governments, sometimes, rather than their persecution that people are fleeing for", commented UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs Sadako Ogata on the launching of the 1995 State of the World Refugees report in Geneva.

In 1969, when the OAU Convention on Refugees in Africa was signed, there were less than 1 million refugees. Today, the number of refugees on the continenet has risen to some 6.75 million, not including another 20 million internally displaced people in refugee-like situation.

The refugee situation in the post-Cold War era is in many sense a contradictory one. A number of long- standing regional conflicts have ben resolved -- Mozambique, South Africa, Ethiopia, Cambodia, El Salvador - - enabling large number of refugees and displaced people to return to their homes and to reconstruct their communities.

However, the past five years have witnessed a spate of internal wars and communal conflicts which have created a succession of new refugee emergencies -- Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia and the former Republic of Yugoslavia. As a result, the total number of persons of concern to UNHCR has increased as has the organisation s budget, the geographical scope of its operations and the extent to which it works alongside UN peacekeeping forces.

Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has started to adopt a new approach to refugee problems. States are wearying of the social, economic and environmental burdens imposed by refugee populations and are increasingly reluctant to open their doors to people displaced by violence. At the same time, the end of the Cold War has allowed the international community to develop a much more active interest in the conditions which creates refugees and which prevent displaced people from returning home.

As a result of these different pressures, a new approach to refugee problems is emerging, an approach based on a recognition of the need to avert, contain and reverse refugee movements by means of activities in countries of origin. The task of resolving the refugee problem is therefore inseparable from the task of protecting human rights, resolving conflicts, establishing effective peacekeeping operations, promoting sustainable development, conserving the natural environment and managing international migration. In contrast to the traditional approach, this new paradigm can be described as pro-active, homeland-oriented and holistic.

4. 1995 Refugee Statistics

Site/camp  Registered   Unreg. New    Grand Total     Nationality
           Population   Arrivals **


Bonga     16147          308            16,455         Sudanese
Fugnido   34418                         34,418         Sudanese
Dimma     10547                         10,547         Sudanese

Sub-total 61112          308            61,420


H'sheikh  43845          14830           58,675        Somalis
K'beyah   10100              6           10,106        Somalis
Darwanaji 36855           6153           43,008        Somalis
Teferiber 41301           5068           46,369        Somalis
Camaboker 17231          14689           31,920        Somalis
Rabasso    8025          16840           24,865        Somalis
Daror     12261          32703           44,964        Somalis
Aisha     15282                          15,282        Somalis

sub-total 184,900       90,289          275,189


Dolo*      15000                         15,000         Somalis
Moyale      8671                          8,671        Kenyans

sub-total 23,671                         23,671

Afar *    18,000                         18,000         Djiboutians
sub-total 18,000                         18,000

Addis Ababa

Urban         582                           582
sub-total     582                           582

Total     288,265       90,597          378,862

(*) :     Estimated figures
(**):     FDRE figures

5.   1995 Repatriation Statistics
Asylum Point of Arrival Transport Number Country Djibouti Dire Dawa train 23,936 Kenya Addis air 158 Dire Dawa air 105 Jijiga air 154 Moyale road 1,236 Gode air 1,552 Sudan Region 1 road 3,840 Region 3 road 3,268 other road 289 Individual (*) Addis air 181 Total 34,719
(*)Iraq, Russia, Malawi, Senegal, USA, UK, Angola, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, Yemen, Arabia, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Swaziland, Tchad, Djibouti, Saudi

From: (Ben Parker) Date: 16 Feb 96 09:20:35 +0300 Subject: UNCHR Refugees Update Update November-December 1995 Message-Id: <>