02.03.2021 | DIE: How does armed conflict affect refugee protection in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is known for its long-standing open-door policies and has been hosting nearly one million refugees from neighbouring countries for many years. The parliament of Ethiopia enacted a bill in 2019 aiming at facilitating long-term local integration, access to land and other essential public services, and the government adopted the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) into its national plan for refugee protection in Ethiopia.

However, particularly in Tigray, the majority of Eritrean refugees have been living in refugee camps without viable paths to citizenship and long-term economic livelihood. Moreover, since November 2020, the military forces of the federal government of Ethiopia and the security forces led by the Tigray region state have been locked in a full-blown political and military crisis. In addition to affecting the 90,000 Eritrean refugees living in the region, the current conflict has internally displaced nearly half a million people. More than 50,000 have fled into neighbouring Sudan to escape the escalating scourge of conflict.  These dynamics have triggered debates on the country’s approach to humanitarian access and the implementation of its refugee policy more generally. These developments could further plunge the horn of Africa into region-wide turmoil aggravating the humanitarian and refugee crisis in the region.

In light of these dynamics, the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) will hold a virtual discussion bringing together renowned scholars and humanitarian actors with regional expertise.

The discussion will focus on the following questions

  • How does the current conflict in the Tigray region affect refugee protection in Ethiopia?
  • In what ways could the current dynamics in the Tigray region affect the efforts of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework that seeks to secure durable solutions for refugees currently hosted in Ethiopia?
  • How could the current development, the conflict in Tigray region and its spill-over effects on the stability of the horn of Africa, affect migration from the horn of Africa to Europe?

Speaker and discussants

  • Samuel Zewdie Hagos is a research associate at the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM-Institute). Samuel Hagos has done research on the spontaneous integration of refugees in Ethiopia and he is currently working on a project related to global norms and local practices in refugee integration.
  • Dr Jana Kuhnt is a researcher at the German Development Institute (DIE) where she focuses on topics in the area of migration and displacement, social cohesion and impact evaluation. She is currently working on a research project related to CRRF implementation in the Somali region of Ethiopia.
  • Abdirahman Ahmed is an assistant professor of sociology and the director of the institute of migration studies of Jigjiga University. His research interest is in migration, particularly the durable solutions for the forcibly displaced (refugees and IDPs) and diaspora engagements (development and philanthropy).
  • Mathijs le Rutte is the Deputy Representative of the UNHCR in Ethiopia. He has a degree in International law. Since 2003 he has been working as a protective officer for the UNHCR in Chad, Switzerland, Lebanon and Senegal before becoming Deputy Representative in Ethiopia in 2020.


Dr Ramona Rischke, DeZIM-Institut / Co-lead of the Migration Department

Course of event: Short input from Samuel Zewdie Hagos on the current situation and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in Ethiopia.
Afterwards short opening statements from our discussants and moderated discussion. The Audience will have the opportunity to raise questions via Youtube-Livechat or via mail to veranstaltungen@dezim-institut.de

More information

Source: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), 26 February 2021