UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

© UNHCR/Petterik Wiggers A South Sudanese refugee teaches a class at a primary school in Kule refugee camp, Ethiopia, March 2016.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Ethiopia has revised its existing refugee law, making it easier to obtain work permits, drivers’ licenses and access primary school, a move being hailed by the head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

“The passage of this historic law represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s long history of welcoming and hosting refugees from across the region for decades,” said  Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

He said the move makes Ethiopia “a model” for other refugee-hosting nations around the world.

In a statement released one day after the Ethiopian Parliament adopted the revision, UNHCR called it “one of the most progressive refugee policies in Africa.”

Ethiopia hosts over 900,000 refugees, primarily from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as smaller numbers of refugees from Yemen and Syria.

UNHCR was involved in the drafting process of the refugee law revision, which was led by Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, ARRA.

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