Monday 16 August 2010
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Exiled Eritrean refugees and politicians hailed Ethiopia’s recent decision that allows Eritrean refugees to live out of refugee camps and settlements.
The newly introduced scheme, which went into force after talks between the Ethiopian government and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) allows Eritrean refugees residing in camps to independently live anywhere they chose across the nation, provided that they can sustain themselves financially or if they could sustain from supports of relatives outside.
There are some 60,000 Eritrean refugees currently residing in five Ethiopian camps near the borders to Eritrea. With increasing numbers of Eritreans crossing borders to Ethiopia on daily basis, situation in the camps are crowded and in a poor condition. Providing funds to support all the new arrivals is also a problem.
Leaders of Eritrean opposition organizations and refugee representative praised the move by Ethiopian authorities as an important step forward to mend ties between people of the two neighboring countries.
“The new program will considerably relax movement restrictions and helps to push forward to the on-going efforts to repair roughen people to people ties of the two brotherly people”, Abdella Mahmoud, leader of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), a coalition of 10 political groups told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.“We are very grateful to the Ethiopian government. The move is exemplary to other countries in terms of respecting rights and dignities of Eritrean refugee”, he added More