News: Displaced individuals in Jara IDP center fear uncertain future amidst eviction orders

A recent edict issued by regional authorities has inflicted considerable distress upon the multitude of individuals who are currently seeking refuge at the Jara Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Center (Photo: Screenshot)

Addis Abeba – A recent mandate from local authorities has brought distress to the thousands of individuals seeking shelter at the Jara Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) center in the Northern Wollo Zone of the Amhara region.

The center, currently housing thousands of IDPs seeking refuge from the ongoing conflict in the Oromia region, now faces a new crisis as local authorities have issued a stern directive demanding that these already vulnerable individuals vacate the premises quickly, once again subjecting them to a state of uncertainty.

Since 2018, more than 10,000 individuals have sought refuge in the Jara camp after fleeing from various zones of the Oromia region, particularly the East Welega Zone, due to ongoing conflicts.

The recent decision by regional authorities is based on an agreement between the Amhara and Oromia regions to facilitate the return of displaced individuals to their hometowns. Yirga Sisay, the head of the Prosperity Party office in Amhara, recently stated that IDPs residing in the region will gradually return to their places of origin based on the agreement reached between officials of the Amhara and Oromia regional administrations.

According to authorities, the plan is to relocate these individuals to an IDP center in Debre Birhan city first and then to their native homelands in the Oromia region. However, the displaced population is uncertain about potential relocation to areas that may still encounter problems, as expressed by some affected individuals.

An individual, who chose to remain anonymous, recounted to Addis Standard that he left his business and home in Kiremu district, East Wollega Zone, in November 2022 due to conflict. This individual emphasized his desire to return home but stressed that safety is an essential prerequisite.

“Our displacement was not due to natural disasters but stemmed from conflict, necessitating an assurance of safety upon our return,” he said.

Another individual, originally from East Wollega Zone and who relocated to the Jara IDP center amidst conflict, emphasized the need for recognition of rights and respect in their place of origin. “We require the fundamental entitlement to rights, such as education, within the locality of our upbringing.”

The displaced population sheltered in Jara has opposed the proposal to relocate them to an IDP center in Debre Birhan and their homeland in Oromia due to safety concerns. As a solution, they are advocating for the formation of a committee comprising IDPs and officials of regional governments to confirm the current peace and security situation in their native homeland.

In the absence of this confirmation, the IDPs reject the local authorities’ resettlement decision, indicating that their only available option would be to migrate to neighboring countries if the government fails to guarantee their safety.

During his interview with DW, Alemu Yimer, the Head of the Disaster Prevention and Food Security office in the North Wollo Zone, emphasized the necessity of relocating individuals due to logistical challenges in delivering essential resources, which are attributed to ongoing conflict in the Amhara region.

Addis Standard‘s attempt to get a comment from the North Wollo Zone administration regarding the issue was unsuccessful. AS

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