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Ethiopia scores UN praise for welcoming refugees despite challenges

Ethiopia scores UN praise for welcoming refugees despite challenges

Ethiopia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) chief, Filippo Grandi, has lauded the efforts of Ethiopia in opening its doors for refugees despite having challenges of their own.

The UNHCR boss was in the country for events marking World Refugee Day which falls on June 20 each year. He described Ethiopia as a shining example of African and global hospitality. This year’s celebration was under the theme, ‘We Stand Together with Refugees.’

‘‘Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open, its arms open to people from neighbouring countries that are in trouble and seek protection here,” he told journalists.

Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open, its arms open to people from neighbouring countries that are in trouble and seek protection here.

The Horn of Africa country currently is ranked as the second most refugee-friendly African country only behind Uganda. The country plays host predominantly to South Sudanese and Eritreans who are all fleeing conflict and rights abuse in their respective countries.

Key among the country’s challenges is a biting drought that has hit the entire region, the UK development service announced a £30m package recently to help Ethiopia deal with the drought. Weeks before, Addis Ababa confirmed that emergency food aid was running out with 1.7 million people likely to be without food by the end of June 2017.

A recent UNHCR report noted that of the close to three million refugees globally Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Uganda and Ethiopia were the top hosts.

‘‘For the third consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 2.9 million people. It was followed by Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (1.0 million), the Islamic Republic of Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), and Ethiopia (791,600),’‘ the report said.

He bemoaned the situation where some countries were getting tired of receiving people fleeing conflicts and other forms of abuse. Grandi tasked the world to assist countries like Ethiopia to shoulder the refugee burden.

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