ADVISORY: High Commissioner Grandi in Ethiopia for 26th AU Summit

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

This morning, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend the 26th Africa Union Summit. On Monday (1 February), Mr. Grandi will visit the refugee camps in Shire in northern Ethiopia. This will be his first field trip in Africa in his capacity as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Ethiopia is Africa's largest refugee hosting country, with more than 734,000 registered refugees mostly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. The four camps around Shire host some 38,000 Eritrean refugees, the majority of them below 25 years in age. Many refugees have left the camps over the last years, some to settle elsewhere in Ethiopia but others have moved on to North Africa and Europe.

Most cite lack of education or job opportunities in the camps as the reason for leaving. They don't think that they can build a future for themselves in a refugee camp that only provides the most basic services. High Commissioner Grandi will visit the Hitsats camp to see living conditions first hand and speak with the refugees on how services can be improved and possible solutions to end one of African's most protracted refugee situations.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Nairobi (regional), Terry Ongaro on mobile +254 735 337 608
  • In Addis Ababa, Kisut Gebre Egziabher on mobile +251 911 20 89 01
  • In Geneva, Karin de Gruijl on mobile +41 79 255 9213