Agency confirms Eritrean refugees’ precarious situation in Tigray

Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other international agencies are receiving reports about the precarious situation of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers in Tigray State of Ethiopia, ARRA said.

 Speaking to The Ethiopian Herald, Agency Communication and External Relations Director Beakal Nigussie stated that reliable information has been gained about the dire situations of Eritrean refugees that were sheltered in Hitsats and Shimelba refugee camps in the northern part of Tigray. In its latest statement, UNHCR said that it has received credible and corroborated reports of reprisal attacks, abductions, arrests, and violence meted out against Eritrean refugees in the hands of TPLF remnants.

Noting 9,000 Eritrean refugees relocated from Hitsats and Shimelba to Mai Ayini and Harush refugee camps in Southern Tigray with better facilities and safety, Beakal highlighted that the remaining are living out of the northern camps and being vulnerable to the reported assaults. Additional 4,000 Eritrean refugees are registered in the capital Addis Ababa.

“As federal government’s entity, we do not have a presence in Tigray and our few employees had been transferring the refugees,” Beakal stated, adding that currently the agency is working with the UNHCR to the safe relocation of Eritrean refugees to the southern camps.

As to the director, the agency’s proactive move to relocate the refugees from the two sub-standard camps in the pre-law enforcement operation period was met with TPLF’s stiff resistance and even the latter declared a state of emergency to blockade the movement of refugees.

ARRA has done a commendable job in the protection of Eritrean refugees that is demonstrated by its ability to ensure the full reoperation of Mai Ayini and Harush camps within a couple of months after the conclusion of the law enforcement campaign. Due to the stabilization of the area, refugees in the southern camps are currently receiving the necessary support, Beakal remarked.

The Ethiopian Herald July 14/2021

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