Protection of refugees can be explained as interventions to ensure their human rights in accordance with international and national refugee laws. ARRA as a government agency assumes the primary responsibility to guarantee the basic human rights and to provide physical protection to refugees. ARRA
in collaboration with the UNHCR continues to work in ensuring that the rights of refugees and persons seeking asylum are protected. We mainstream a protection perspective throughout all stages of refugee program including at all levels of camp existence from planning, setup and camp closure as a responsibility of all including local government structures, partners working in the camp, camp management and refugees. When selecting a camp, protection become crucial as a camp site must be at a certain distance from border and conflict areas. All our refugee camps are located in a reasonable and safe distance from border areas.
The Government of Ethiopia is currently providing Refugee Protection services to refugees of more than 21 nationalities based on the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU convention as well as its own refugee law enacted in 2004. Prima facie as well as individual screening and registration/recognition is given to refugees mainly originating from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, the Sudan, Yemen, the Great Lakes Region where UNHCR has an observer status.
ARRA in collaboration with federal and regional law enforcement bodies assumes the primary responsibility to guarantee the refugee population’s safety and protection. The responsibility of maintaining a civilian and humanitarian character in a refugee camp lies with ARRA, with the support, where necessary, of UNHCR and other partners.
Special services are also put in place for refugee with special needs including people with disabilities, unaccompanied and separated children, victims of sexual abuse, the elderly despite limited resources to cater the best to such vulnerable refugees.
Registration is primarily the responsibility of ARRA representing government of Ethiopia. Due to limitation in operational capacity, however, to maintain a functioning registration system, UNHCR “>UNHCR keeps the database of each individual refugee living in the country and that both UNHCR and ARRA ensure records are updated regularly .
Registration of a refugee profile helps us a lot in the administration and provision of services. ARRA together with UNHCR undertakes regular registration of refugee figures. The characteristics of population (gender and age breakdowns, the number and type groups with special needs etc.) help all partners involved in refuge services to determine whether to add or modify programmes to maximize assistance.
Who are Un-accompanied and Separated Children?
Separate children are children (persons under 18 years of age) separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary caregiver, but not necessarily from other relatives. Unaccompanied children are children who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so
(definition as applied by UNHCR ).
Particular attention is given when it comes to the protection of refugee children. Children and adolescents affected by displacement face serious threats to their safety as well as mental and physical development. In our operation, refugee children are increasing in numbers with significant proportion of unaccompanied and separated children. In Gambella and Somali operation, children constitute more than half of the total refugee community.
Unaccompanied and separated children continue to increase in numbers especially in the Eritrean and Gambella refugee operations. The situation of Eritrean unaccompanied and separated children arriving at Endabaguna registration center is perhaps one of the most complex protection situations in the refugee operation in Ethiopia. ARRA, UNHCR and partners are facing tremendous challenge of providing adequate care and protection for unaccompanied and separated children who cross the border from Eritrea.