Addis Ababa March 23/2018 Ethiopia is going to implement a 10-year comprehensive refugee response strategy, the Administration for Refugees & Returnees Affairs (ARRA) said.
The new strategy will have crucial importance in realizing it’s pledged towards supporting refuges sheltering in the country by facilitating durable solutions.
Deputy Director for ARRA, Zeynu Jemal told ENA that the pervious handling of refugees were not beneficial neither to the refugees nor to host communities.
Identifying the gap and as a means to materialize its pledge, the government has been working to create a situation in which refugees and host communities could benefit.
Seventeen countries with significant refugee populations including Ethiopia pledged for policy changes that will allow one million more refugee children attend school and one million additional refugees pursue lawful employment and livelihood activities.
The pledges by Ethiopia include enhancing basic social services; provide birth certificates to children of refugees born in Ethiopia; create jobs for 30,000 refugees; provide work permits; and increase enrollment of refugee children.
It also pledged to make available 10,000 hectares of irrigable land to allow 20,000 refugee and host community households to engage in crop production; and allow for local integration for protracted refugees who have lived in Ethiopia for 20 years or more.
Providing facilities for refugees to open bank accounts, obtain driving licenses, and access all other benefits to which any foreigner with a legal permanent residence permit is entitled are also among the pledge.
Zeynu said the new strategy is prepared to materialize the pledges and will address social and economic situation of refugees for the better.
The strategy will be implemented following the approval of the revised draft law that provides for the handling of refugees.
Activities that would lead to the realization of the pledges will continue to be implemented and some are already in progress, Zeynu said.
According to Zeynu, the pledge to make available 10,000 hectares of irrigable land has already started by allotting 1,000 hectares land in Somali regional state.
He said some 411 refugee households are already engaged in agricultural activities on the 1,000 hectares land, adding, discussion with other regional states is being underway to secure additional agricultural land.
The deputy director has also said the construction of the two industrial parks intended to create jobs for 30,000 refugees will also launch following the enactment of the strategy.
A feasibility study has already conducted in places selected for the construction of the industrial parks, in which the EU and World Bank pledged to extend 560 million USD.
As one of the largest refugee hosting nation in Africa, second to Uganda, Ethiopia hosts more than 900,000 refugees in its 27 refugee camps spread across six regions in the country.