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News: Ethiopia grants free visa renewals to over 15,000 Sudanese refugees residing in urban centers

In addition to residing in urban centers, over 50,000 Sudanese refugees currently live in camps throughout Ethiopia (Photo: UNHCR)

Addis Abeba – More than 15,000 Sudanese refugees fleeing the ongoing civil war are residing in urban centers like Addis Abaeba, with their visas renewed for free.

This was revealed during a performance review meeting of the National Task Force, which was established to oversee the treatment of Sudanese and other foreign national refugees. 

Established after the outbreak of civil war in Sudan, the task force, chaired by Birtukan Ayano, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, aims to ensure the well-being of refugees.

Held on 24 May, 2024, this meeting comes on the heels of a surge in Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia.

In addition to urban centers, more than 50,000 Sudanese reside in camps across Ethiopia, primarily in the Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz regions.

The meeting addressed recent security concerns at the Kumer refugee camp, located in the Amhara region.

Two weeks ago, the UNHCR reported that around 1,000 Sudanese fled the camp due to threats, with an additional 7,000 forced to leave after attacks and theft by local militias.

Despite these challenges, the task force expressed optimism. A report presented at the meeting highlighted “encouraging efforts” to address the issues facing Sudanese refugees in Ethiopian camps.

Furthermore, the report revealed that over 128,000 refugees from more than 17 countries have entered Ethiopia since the Sudanese conflict began in April 2023, with border checkpoints like Metema and Kurmuk seeing a significant influx. Among these refugees, over 47,000 are Ethiopian returnees.

According to the UNHCR, Sudanese refugees housed in camps in the Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz regions near the Sudanese border face significant challenges, including a lack of security, severe food shortages, and inadequate medical care.

Furthermore, the UN agency reports incidents of violence, including sexual assaults, armed robberies, and kidnappings, with minimal protection provided. AS

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