UNHCR Special Envoy for the Somali refugee situation, Ambassador Mohamed Affey, expressed his deepest appreciation to the Government of Ethiopia for their continued generosity in providing access to its territory to refugees fleeing in neighbouring regions and for their efforts towards finding lasting solutions.
The Special Envoy noted with concern that the Somali refugee situation has displaced millions for over two decades, affecting three generations. Approximately 1.8 million Somalis are displaced within Somalia and nearly one million are refugees in the surrounding region.
He added that Ethiopia has been hosting over 920,000 refugees, with over 255,000 of them coming from Somalia.
"The Ethiopia refugee operation is characterized by both protracted and very complex emergency situations," said the Ambassador, during his recent visit to the country. He added that Ethiopia continues to receive new arrivals from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
He visited Ethiopia on a week long trip where he met with Government officials, UN partners and NGOs and representatives from the private sector, refugee leaders and host community representatives.
He commended the progress made by Ethiopia in the implementation of the CRRF under the auspices of the Nairobi Declaration for finding durable solutions for Somali refugees.
"UNHCR is delighted by the unprecedented regional effort that commits to provide collective protection, assistance to Somali refugees and contributions towards realisation of durable solutions," he said.
Ambassador Affey applauded the efforts of IGAD member states that have translated the commitments made at the global level in the New York Declaration into action at the regional level, through the Special Summit on Somali refugees held last year in March.
He outlined that CRRF is the vehicle for the implementation of the nine pledges made at the Leaders' Summit around thematic areas such as out of camp policy, education, work and livelihoods opportunities, documentation, other social and basic services and local integration.