UNHCR statement on Ethiopian refugees registered in Sudan allegedly involved in fighting in Tigray region

NAIROBI, Kenya - UNHCR is aware of media reports that some Ethiopian refugees registered in Sudan have returned to Ethiopia and are allegedly involved in the conflict there. 

UNHCR verifies on a regular basis if registered refugees are present to receive humanitarian assistance in the camps and updates its database. However, for protection reasons, UNHCR does not release information on individual cases. 

While there has been a modest decrease in the number of Ethiopian refugees in the refugee camps in recent months, UNHCR is not able to verify the whereabouts of those who have left, including those who may have returned to their country of origin. 

Refugee status is incompatible with active participation in armed conflict. Any registered refugees who may have returned to Ethiopia and joined the conflict are no longer considered refugees.

UNHCR has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum, which can be a challenge in conflict situations. We continue to work with the government of Sudan in support of their responsibility and commitment to uphold this key principle, which includes separating identified combatants from the civilian population seeking asylum.


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