Refugees in Nguenyyiel Gambella of Ethiopia, May 2019 [Image File]

UN Appreciates Ethiopia for Keeping its Door Open to Refugees

ADDIS ABABA – The UN refugee agency appreciates Ethiopia for keeping its door open for refugees, in spite of its domestic challenges, says the UNHCR country representative.

Mamadou Dian Bolds, the UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia, has extended the appreciation during an event commemorated the World Refugee Day on Tuesday,

The day is commemorated around the globe, celebrating the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution.

Across Ethiopia, World Refugee Day is celebrated with a series of activities in refugee camps and sites and at various events.

In Addis Ababa, the day was marked at the Abrehot Library with the participation of refugees as well as officials from the Ethiopian Government Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), the UN Refugee Agency, (UNHCR), local authorities, and their partners.

Director-General of the RRS, Tesfahun Gobezay said this year’s theme ‘everyone has the right to seek safety’, “perhaps a value Ethiopians live for and a legacy they maintain for generations to come.”

“For us, it is not who they are, where they come from or what they believe in what matters most, but the dignity and protection refugees and asylum seekers deserve,” Tesfahun said.

“That is why Ethiopia received them with open doors and hands stretched to embrace them.”

Ethiopia is the third-largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, sheltering 850,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers.

“Over decades, Ethiopia has demonstrated solidarity with the people who were forced to leave their homes — by generously receiving them and offering refuge,” said UNHCR Representative Bolds.

“On this World Refugee Day, UNHCR wishes to thank the Ethiopian Government for its continuing solidarity with the forcibly displaced and for keeping the country’s doors open for the people in need of shelter and protection, in spite of its domestic challenges,” he added.

Cultural performances by refugees were a part of the celebration at Abrehot.