Print this page

Eritrean Refugees in Tigray and the Ethiopian civil war by Martin Plaut

2022-03-01 09:21:31 Written by  Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 390 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

An IPRA Report

By Awet T. Weldemichael, Yibeyin Hagos Yohannes and Meron Estefanos

Full Report:

between_a_rock_and_a_hard_place-eritrean_refugees_in_tigray_and_ethiopian_civil_war_weldemichael_et._al._2022Download

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................. ix

RECOMMENDATIONS .............................................................. xiii

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 1

IN THE RUN UP TO THE CONFLICT AND IMMEDIATELY

AFTER ............................................................................................ 7

WHEN THE REFUGE IS NO LONGER SAFE ........................... 13

Unaccompanied and Separated Children ................ 37

Looting and Destruction ................................................ 40

Sexual Violence ................................................................ 43

FLIGHT NARRATIVES ............................................................... 47

Persecution, Detention, and Abduction of Eritrean

Refugees .............................................................................. 53

Traumatic Experiences .................................................. 55

CURRENT NEEDS OF THE REFUGEES ................................... 57

FROM FLATTENED CAMPS TO THE DEEP BLUE SEA ....... 61

CONCLUSION ............................................................................. 65

A NOTE ON THE METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY ............ 67

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

➢ Overshadowed by the atrocities of the dreadful civil war in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Eritrean refugees there have endured – and continue to endure – grave human rights violations in the hands of the various warring sides.

➢ Before the outbreak of the conflict, Tigray region was home to more than 90,000 Eritrean convention refugees sheltered in four UNHCR camps.

➢ Following the start of fighting, safety, security and sustenance imperatives compelled many of these refugees to flee the camps.

➢ Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) soldiers forced others out of two camps, looted UNHCR facilities, and destroyed existing physical infrastructure.

➢ Whereas Eritrean soldiers targeted some refugees for kidnap and involuntary return to Eritrea, they variously lured others to repatriate, including by promising them blanket amnesty.

➢ Soldiers of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and Amhara forces abused fleeing Eritrean refugees at various check points, demanded bribes and stole/confiscated their valuables.

➢ Tigrayan forces, militia and armed civilians from around the camps also launched organized or kneejerk reprisal attacks against the refugees and ransacked the camps of their remaining supplies of basic necessities.

➢ Many refugee women and girls were sexually assaulted while others were forced to endure “survival sex” because of the precarious situation in which they found themselves and their loved ones.

➢ Many refugees on the move lost – or do not know the whereabouts of – loved ones and friends.

➢ In their desperate quest for safe ground and onward migration out of Ethiopia, some refugees have fallen victim to human traffickers, who have started to badger the refugees’ loved ones for ransom.

➢ Previously separated and unaccompanied minors faced a higher risk of separation from their caregivers, and of being smuggled and trafficked.

➢ Refugees fled the camps with little to none of their belongings. Those who gathered what little belongings they could lost them to various forces manning the many security checkpoints along the way.

➢ Refugees who managed to escape the war zone and managed to reach Addis Ababa at great physical and emotional risk to themselves and heavy financial burden to their loved ones were forcibly returned to the very camps that they escaped, government claims of their protection and transfer to the newly instituted refugee camp in Gondar notwithstanding.

➢ More than a year after the outbreak of the war and dramatic shifts in the balance of power on the ground, the plight of Eritrean refugees persists.

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 March 2022 10:30