Making it work
Many are keen to leave refugee camps and support themselves
Refugees are largely confined to the camps where there is little work and few opportunities for legal onward movement. Of the nearly 800,000 refugees living in the country, most live in border camps, with just 2.5% registered in the capital city Addis Ababa. Only people with serious medical needs, refugees at risk within the camps and financially secure Eritrean refugees are permitted to leave.
Since 2010 the government has operated a special ‘out of camp’ policy for Eritrean refugees, which allows them to leave the camps and live in urban areas. But to qualify they must have a relative able to financially support them or enough money to support themselves.
All this could change. At the UN summit on refugees and migration in September 2016, the Ethiopian prime minister promised to improve conditions for refugees in the country. This effort will include allowing more refugees to leave the camps and find work.