Young Eritrean refugees gain hope through overseas education
Aug 5, 2011
A surprising number of young, mostly educated Eritrean men continue to arrive in Ethiopian refugee camps, which is concerning to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC), IRIN reports.
"Most say they left their country [to avoid] a prolonged military conscription, but they also say they want to join their families on the road," Moses Okello, UNHCR’s representative in Ethiopia, told IRIN.
According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is currently hosting over 61,000 displaced Eritreans.
The UNHCR has dubbed this a "silent crisis" as the Horn of Africa continues to battle the worst drought in over 50 years, and Okello said most were in good shape upon arrival compared to those coming to the camps from Somalia.
"The trend seems non-stop and yet increasing," Ayalew Aweke, the deputy director of the government’s Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) told the news outlet.
"We are receiving additional refugees of between 1,200-1,500 every month. Most of them are unaccompanied youngsters," he added.
Aweke said that most of these refugees tend to stay with humanitarian groups or with host families rather than in the refugee centers, as they don't require as much care.
Humanitarian groups have been working to find a place for these displaced young men to go. Many have been granted traveling visas to attend universities in other countries.
In 2008, UNHCR worked with the U.S. to set up a program to bring over 6,000 Eritrean refugees to schools in the U.S.
To date, over 2,000 young men have been resettled in the U.S., UNHCR told the news outlet.