Ethiopia to close Eritrean refugee camp despite virus fears

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia planned to shutter a camp for Eritrean refugees and resettle thousands of its inhabitants in other camps that the UN considered already full, an official said, despite concern that this could make

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia planned to shutter a camp for Eritrean refugees and resettle thousands of its inhabitants in other camps that the UN considered already full, an official said, despite concern that this could make them more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Hitsats camp is one of four in the northern Tigray region that together house nearly 100,000 people from Eritrea, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, out of more than 170,000 Eritrean refugees nationwide.

In early March, Ethiopian officials informed UNHCR they intended to close Hitsats as part of a consolidation scheme, but it was delayed after Ethiopia confirmed its first Covid-19 cases in mid-March.

Yet preparations for the closure have continued, and Eyob Awoke, deputy director-general of Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, told AFP this week that relocations could begin by the end of April.

“We are ready to start. But we cannot start with a big number. We can start with a small number,” Eyob said. “We can even start before the end of this month.”

Hitsats residents will have the option of resettling in one of two other camps or being granted a permit to live and work independently in Ethiopia.

The decision to close Hitsats — which the government says houses 13,022 refugees — is partly linked to funding cuts from UNHCR, Eyob said.

The government also believes it can better serve refugees by consolidating the camps in Tigray, he said.

Ann Encontre, UNHCR’s Ethiopia representative, said Ethiopia began the year with a 14% reduction in funding from the organisation but that this would not justify a camp closure.

Moving Hitsats residents to other camps would “definitely” make them more vulnerable to Covid-19, she said.

“The situation in the other two camps … there’s not enough water, there’s not enough sanitation, there’s not enough medical and health services,” Encontre said.

“There’s not enough facilities and shelter for an influx as big as that.”

There are 1,600 unaccompanied children in the camp, according to UNHCR.

Ethiopia has so far reported 92 Covid-19 cases, but none in refugee camps.

Eritrea’s system of compulsory national service has led to descriptions of the nation as an “open-air prison” akin to North Korea.

A border war erupted between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1998, killing tens of thousands and leading to a two-decade stalemate.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed struck a surprise peace deal in 2018, but there has been no sign of political reform within Eritrea since and asylum seekers continue to stream over the border into Ethiopia.

The decision to close Hitsats is the latest of several moves by Ethiopia that the UN and human rights groups fear could deprive Eritrean asylum seekers of needed protections.

In January, Ethiopia reversed a long-standing policy of automatically granting all Eritrean asylum seekers refugee status, instead evaluating cases individually.

The earlier policy frequently drew criticism from the Isaias regime.

Eyob said the change was necessary because some Eritreans were coming to Ethiopia even though they didn’t have a reasonable fear of persecution back home.

“Some of them are just coming to live in Ethiopia because they feel that living in Eritrea is somehow very difficult,” he said.

Encontre said the policy had led to a drop in the number of Eritrean refugees being registered even before Ethiopia shut its land borders last month to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The changes in how Ethiopia treats Eritrean asylum seekers are “creating fear and confusion”, said Laetitia Bader, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“The government needs to make sure that it publicly announces and explains any shifts in policy and properly consults with the affected refugee communities as well as with humanitarian actors,” she said.

AFP

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27 COMMENTS
  • k.tewolde April 17, 2020

    (((“Some of them are just coming to live in Ethiopia because they feel that living in Eritrea is somehow very difficult,” he said.)))…..the host summarizes the situation as a matter of choice,whose statement does that remind you? KIDU AYTBELOM,KEM ZIKEDU GBEROM. It is a double edged sword,the dispatcher and the host working in tandem,this is the most formidable enemy the Eritrean people ever faced, the pictures from the camps depicts it all.Raising funds is like putting a band-aid on the wound,it ain’t gonna heal it.By now everyone knows what need to be done if there is intent.

    • Asmerom April 17, 2020

      Wedi Hirkam Esub LEKHIBAT, corona-virus ain’t allowing you to beg outside USA streets these days, is it Wedi Amete Komarit filthy diQala scumbag? ELF whore mouth ROT in your diQala Islam HELL.

  • ዝበረቐ ጽሓየይ April 17, 2020

    ምሕጽንታ ንኽቡር ዶክተር ኣቢይ ኣሕመድ

    ካብ ኤርትራውያን ንላዕሊ መስራቲ ኢትዮጵያ የለን ፠ ፕረሲደንት ኢሳያስ እውን ነዚ ተረዲኡ,እዩ “ንኢትዮጵያን ኤርትራን ክልተ ህዝቢ እዮም ዝብል እንተሎ ታሪኽ ዘይርድኦ እዩ” ዝበለ ነቲ ናይ ምግንጻል ኣጀንዳ ገዲፍና ናብ ናይ ምድማር ኣጀንዳ ስለ ዝኣቶና እዩ ፠ ዶብ ትርጉም ዘይብሉ ንሰለስተ ሽሕ ዓመታት ኩላትና (ኣቢሲናውያን/ሓበሻ/ኢትዮጵያውያን ስለ ዝኾንና እዩ ፠ ምኒሊክን ጃንሆይን ስለ ዝጠለሙናን ኣብ ርእሴና ልዕልና ግዝኣት ኣምሓራን ስለ ዝዓብለሉሉና ተቓሊስና ሕጂ ወላዲት ሃገርና ኢትዮጵያ ስለ ዝተዓረየት ኩላትና ሓንቲ ሃገርን ህዝብን ስለ ዝኾንና ነዞም ስደተኛታት ዝተጸውዑ ደቂ ክልል ኤርትራ ምሉእ ኢትዮጵያዊ ዜግነቶም መሊስካ ተማሂሮምን ሰሪሖምን ክነብሩ ኢትዮጵያዊ መሰሎም ኣኽብረሎም ፠
    ድሙር ሓበሻ
    ዝበረቐ ጽሓየይ

    • k.tewolde April 17, 2020

      A reminder zibereqe,the nationality Eritrawi doesn’t pertain to the eloquent tigrigna speaking and geez reciting ethnicity like you only as Ethiopiawi is not to the axumites,amharas….exclusively.Take off your feudo-religious spectacle and try a new pair,you will be surprised what the national topography looks like.The mongolians are spread across southeast and far east Asia however,they live proudly in over 2 dozen nations some as archenemies and polarized ideologies,there is no nation called Habesha unless you want to manufacture one where there is plenty of keboro,injera,Tsebhi,mosob,gulicha……and the leader is asefaw gebretsadiq.

      • Asmerom April 17, 2020

        Wedi Amete Komarit – Wedi Hirkam filthy diQala scumbag Arab slave dog, who the f**k gave you the authority or f**king ownership to mark or dictate on assenna’s commentators??? You are nothing but a f**king rotten garbage/goHaf lemani evil ELF mendef crippled lifelong wheel chaired food stamps collector and mushmush LEKHIBAT beggar.

        • Danilo April 17, 2020

          ኣንታ ሓወይ፡እቲ ሕልሚ ዶርሆ ጥረ-ምረ ሓሊፉስ ገፈል-መፈል።ሽሕ ግዜ ጻሕቲርካ እንታይ ኣምጺእካ ? በጃኻ ሜላ ቀይር።

          • Gideon April 17, 2020

            South Sudan Dracula Danilo/Fernilo, you and your muslim NEFAHITO cousin Ayte WoldeNejis must be the WISHIMATAT of fandiya k.tewolde aka Khalifa bin TeQebre! He is f**king so weak and so crippled that he bloody needs your protection all the time, doesn’t he? And what exactly have you brought to Eritrea apart the evil Arabic language from your criminal barbaric ELF banditry Egyptian exploit?

          • Asmerom April 17, 2020

            South Sudan Dracula Danilo/Fernilo, you and your muslim NEFAHITO cousin Ayte WoldeNejis must be the WISHIMATAT of fandiya k.tewolde aka Khalifa bin TeQebre! He is f**king so weak and so crippled that he bloody needs your protection all the time, doesn’t he? And what exactly have you brought to Eritrea apart the evil Arabic language from your criminal barbaric ELF banditry Egyptian exploit?

          • Asmerom April 17, 2020

            Egyptian exploit/adventure????

  • Gideon April 17, 2020

    This shameful boring k.tewelde is far worse than COVID-19 pandemic, why is he flipping glued to asena 24/7?

    • Danilo April 17, 2020

      Gideon/Asmerom,ሎሚ ተፈዲሕካ።ሕልሚ ጥረ-ምረ ከምኡ እዩ ዝገብር።ነገር ምጽሕታር ግደፍ።

      • Asmerom April 17, 2020

        Scaricos Fernilo/Danilo pigo, yes LOMI TEMAM GERE TEFEDIHE!!!!! No denying……

  • ወዲ ሃገር April 17, 2020

    ኣይተ ስየ (ዝበረቐ ጽሓየይ)

    ምድንጋር ዝይትገድፎ ?
    ጹቡቅ ትግርኛ ስለ ዝፈልጥ ፥ ኤሪትራዊ መሲለ እንተ ጻሓፍኩ ፥ ከደናግር ይኽእል እየ ፥ እልካ እኻ ።
    እንታይ ኣእተወካ ኣብ ጉዳይ ኤሪትራ ?
    እኖኻ እትዮጵያ ዝኣኽለን ጸገም ኣለወን ፥ ጉዳይ እተን ዓባይ ሰበይቲ ግበር።
    በል ክነግረካ ፥ ሎሚ እትዮጵያዊ ክኾውን ዝደሊ ኤሪትራዊ የለን።

    • ዝበረቐ ጽሓየይ April 17, 2020

      ኣንታ ወዲ ሀገር
      ጎረቤት እንተዝኸውን እውን ገዛ እንዳጎረቤቱ እንዳተቓጸለ ሱቕ ኢሉ ኣይርእን ! ሻድሻይ ወራር እንተሎ ሱዳን ከይኣቱ ጎሰቤትካ ተሰዊእካ ተድሕኖ , ነጻነት እንተደለየ ፈሪምካ ትምጽውተሉ , ተሰዲዱ እንተመጸካ ተዕቁቦ..ጎረቤት እኮ ዝጠቕመሉ እዋን ኣሎ ፠ ጎረቤት ኣይጽላእን ፠ እቲ ዝመጽወታ ናጽነት እውን ኢሳያስን ኣምሓሩን ከየሕድግዎ ገቲርካ ትሕዝ…እንተጠምዩ ካብ ዓጋመ ዓዲ ግራት ባኒ ሰሪሕካ ተብልዖ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ተምህሮ ጎረቤት ኣይትጽላእ ዋላ ካብ ውቕሮ ብሃጸይ ዮውሃንስ ዝተሰጎገ ሳርቶን መሸበኽን ይኹን፠

      • Asmerom April 17, 2020

        Excellent observation Mr brilliant man (one honest most brilliant Habesha man).
        These so-called evil tegadelti Shefatu/bandits all they brought us is destruction, bloodshed, backwardness, darkness and all evils to poor Eritrea. Three generations have sadly become boot people, refugees, prisoners indefinite Sawa prisoners/slaves.

        • Asmerom April 17, 2020

          all alien-loving evil ghedli, they’ve unfortunately made poor Eritrea a toilet for the bastard barbaric evil muslim Arabs.

          • ዝበረቐ ጽሓየይ April 18, 2020

            ሓው Asmerom,
            ናይ ኤርትራ ቓልሲ ምንም እኳ ብቑዕ መበገሲ ክህልዎ እንተኽኣለ,,ኣብ ናይ ናይ “ኣኮንኩን” ዕላማ ኣትዩ…ናይ 4000 ዓመታት ትግራዋይ መንነተይ ጸሊኤ “ፍሉይ ፍጥረት/special breed) እየ እቲ ኻልኣይ ድማ ‘ ነታ ትግርኛ “ኣልሓምዲሊላህ” ስለ ዝሓወስኩላ ናይ ኣኽርያ ዓረብ እየ’ ዝዓይነቱ ግብጺን ኣዕራብን ኣንጻር ኢንፊዴል ኢትዮጵያ ኢለን ዝኾስኮስኦ ቃልሲ ዘይኮነ ካልሲ እዩ ኔሩ,ጨናዊ ኻልሲ .እዚ ወዲ ውቕሮ ሳርቶ ሓውና ድማ እታ ትግራውነትና ስለ ዘዘክሮ ጽልኢት ሃጸይ ዮውሃንስ ስለ ትቕስቅሰሉ illogical ስለ ትገብሮ “ከይተቐደመ ክቕድም ንዓይ ዓጋመ ክብለኒ ኣለዎ !!! ሓማሴን ድኣ ዓጋመ ጎንደሬ ኤረ ኦሮሞ እውን ኣለዉና ሕልፍ እንተበልና ብሌን/ኣገው ህዝብና ስኑድ ታሪኽና ኣይንኽሕድን…ኣኽሪያን ጃልያነ መንነት ኣይኮነን…ናይ ውቕሮ ትግራዋይ እየ ግን ብዜግነት ክኣ ኤርትራዊ እየ…እኮ ፍርቂ ሓበን ምኾነ..ብስዋ ኣባዕከ እንድሕር ሰኺርካ ግን ጂሃዳዊ ሕልሚ ይፍቀድዩ. ዘሕንከኒ መሲልዎ እንድዩ ሓማሴናይ ዓጋመታይ ደንቢያ ጎንደሬ ኩሉ የኹርዓኒ ፠ ግን ሌባን ከም ኢዱ ሓሳውን ከም ኣፉ ስለ ዝመስሎ ኣነ እውን ብመንነታይ ከሰቅቐኒ ኣይክእልን.
            – ጥዕናን መሸበኽን ኣብሪቕን ጥራይ

    • FAKE GOLD April 20, 2020

      ወዲ ሃገር
      እዚ ዝበረቀ ጸሓየይ ነቲ ቓልሲ ናይ 5 ሚልዮናት ህዝቢ እኮ እዩ ዝኽሕዶ ዘሎ .ወይ ጉድ

  • ወዲ ሃገር April 17, 2020

    ኩቡራት ኣሰና ፥ ነዚ ፥ ብዘይካ ጸርፊ ፥ ካልእ ዘይተማህረ ቱሑት ፍጥረት ፥ በጃኹም እለዩዎ።

    • Asmerom April 17, 2020

      Wedi ugly hooker Khadija the ROOTLESS evil muslim taliban KIRDAD nomad Yemeni saHab gemel, why the f**k you changing (abusing poor assenna) your evil jihadist nick from Woldegabriel nejis to fake Wedi Hager/Arab then??? Stick to your HAKHILI DIMU KIRINDILU HATELLA FANDIYA evil real nejis name of mushmush goHaf saeed mohammed ahmed garbage.

  • rezen April 17, 2020

    Subject: “Ethiopia to close Eritrean refugee camp despite virus fear” April 16, 2020, AEP

    Commentary, 17 April 2020
    The Title of the Article says it all. The dignity of Eritrean people is shattered.

    Quote from the above Article:
    i) 170,000 Eritrean refugees nation wide
    ii) 100,000 Eritreans in Tigray region
    iii) Eritreans coming to Ethiopia even though they didn’t have a reasonable fear of persecution back home
    iv) some of them are just coming to live in Ethiopia
    v) they feel that living in Eritrea is somehow very difficult Unquote

    First of all, let us question ourselves for the benefit of ourselves — not to convince anyone else. Are the above summaized quotes reasonably correct based on our own knowledge AS ERITREANS, no matter where we live? In any case, let us ponder on the future of Eritreans.

    Once upon a time, Eritreans were admired in all undertakings they engage themselves onto — anywhere around the Globe. This is NOT exaggeration or emotional statement. Pick any Book written by non-Eritreans around the Globe and you may come across statement of praise bestowed upon the characteristic of Eritreans and devotion upon their individual undertakings.

    Take also, in time of war, the gallantry and bravery of Eritreans during the 30-year war for Independence from Ethiopia. This is not empty glory; but historical FACT.

    After the horrendous sacrifice in the 30-year war, Eritreans found themselves under the control of an indigenous citizen who turned out to be an absolute Dictator who hatched his plan all along to ‘show’ Eritreans who he was!!! Indeed, in a conversation with a colleague — in relaxed atmosphere with spirits of drinks — he divulged his life-long endeavour by these two words of Tigrigna: ከርእየኩም እየ ። And he did!!!

    Bitter as it is to swallow the above fact, it is historical fact that Issayas Afewerki Abraha Miratch “showed” Eritreans who he is and, sad to say, understood the unfortunate inherent weakness of Eritreans, when it comes to their own benefit !!! Eritreans are divided by internal sociological and political divisions that Issayas took advantage for his own success. There is no ‘if’s and ‘but’s about it, and the shrewd ‘devil’ glaringly succeeded.

    Eritreans —the famous FIGHTERS as well as Eritrean commoners of all walks of life — are numb as to what should be done to counter act Issayas’ action. As every Eritrean knows there are about 80 to 90 groups and recently a list of 95 Ph D Scholars (1) are all gearing up for ONE, and only one, objective >>> to overthrow Issayas. After so many failures, in a time period of almost thirty-years, one would be excused to have a slight doubt on the new ‘promises’.

    Issyas has been on his own throne for twenty-nine (29) years. In 1992 or ’93 a group was attempting to challenge Issays and failed. One by one the suspected leaders disappeared or gone to prison for life. The rest learned their lesson and became docile citizens like any other Eritreans. And Issayas was more secured than any other time.

    The Eritrean people, in totality, wherever they may be, seem to be, hopeless to over throw Issayas Let us be honest to ourselves and admit that Eritreans are divided by religion, region, personal interest and ambition and other useless individual ventures etc. It would seem that the principle for the Nation, called Eritrea to be off track, to put it mildly. We have seen on the Internet that individuals insulting each other, ad nauseam, pretending to be special defender of Eritrea, but alas covering their weakness, frustration and (let us not be naive) purposely mudding the water for other ulterior motive, hatched by the machinery of Issayas himself.

    Where do we go from here?
    Let us start by a question. Are Eritreans ready and capable of forming. ONE, and only one, Liberation Force (in peaceful time) to replace Issayas with a democratically elected leader to form a NEW ERITREA for THE PEOPLE? The answer required honesty, determination, and sincere desire to have ONE Eritrea in spirit and action for common interest and prosperity for the Eritrean people. Other wise, the glaring TRUTH about Eritrea will once again acutely be revealed for the second time. The first sign took place when two ‘Eritrean’ groups >>> ELF and EPLF <<< had a war among themselves in the middle of Liberation War undertaking a bitter massacre of each other to have their own respective agenda. As I wrote somewhere, the difference may not be just in the difference of the letter “P” but must inherently be a deep seated ‘something’ else. Are we ready to “confess” to ourselves by ourselves and form a UNITY for that LAND named “Eritrea” as baptized by colonial force? I appreciate to be corrected on the naming. THE END
    ———————————————
    Footnote
    (1) “The 2020 Manifesto of Eritrean Scholars and Professionals in the Diaspora” With such prominent intellectuals of the highest order, it is possible —under normal atmosphere — to make a “difference’ and liberate Eritrean people from the bondage under one person of dixctatorship. WE shall see.

    • Asmerom April 17, 2020

      “Full-fledged Eritrean”, keep it up! We wonder when you’ll be an expert analyst of TPLF too!!!!

  • Embaye April 18, 2020

    Beggars can’t be choosers as they say it,
    Eritreans as refugges have to accept where they are located,period.

    • k.tewolde April 18, 2020

      Embaye,where do you live? in Beverly Hills? how did you get to where you are? private jet first class? How about Ethiopian refugees,Syrian refugees etc.?. ((accept where they are located,period.))..Emba, from which mountain top are you watching this exodus of humanity? Debre damo,Debre Markos or Mount Rushmore?

      • Embaye April 18, 2020

        K.Tewolde, you must be a specialist of twisting words,
        can I also ask you if you are using your binoculars or
        your telescopes to view this critical and sad situations.
        The truth of the matter is because of the fund cuts from UN
        to Ethiopia that is forcing the Abiy government for the drastic changes.

        • k.tewolde April 18, 2020

          aha,there comes the truth..((fund cuts from UN))…so the refugee business is not lucrative anymore,the funds are drying up for those who use to walk with wads of bills in their pockets intended for the lively hood of the needy,now they have to disperse the homeless.Ya! Abiy has to do something drastic,evict the evicted again. There is nothing to be twisted here Emba,it is what it is– raw truth.

          • Embaye April 18, 2020

            K.Tewolde, you are sadly spinning out of control,
            if you’ve been described any drugs or medications
            then just keep taking them regularly.
            Otherwise, find a lucrative business for amusement.

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