Worries have been on the rise pertaining to claims of persecution of Ethiopian refugees in Kenya. Human Rights watch has brought this to the limelight with several documentations of incidences of persecution of Ethiopian refugees in Kenya and in other countries across the world. There have been cases where Ethiopian asylum seekers have been degraded, unlawfully arrested and even forcefully repatriated back to Ethiopia. There have also been cases where Ethiopian refugees are battered with threats from Ethiopian phone numbers and Kenyan phone numbers alike.
Some Kenyan policemen have anonymously disclosed to Human Rights Watch that officials in the Nairobi Ethiopian embassy have made promiscuous cash offers to Kenyan policemen to detain Ethiopians. Other Ethiopians refugees have confessed to being persuaded with offers of settlement in the US, land, money, and protection to join the ranks of Ethiopian authorities in helping the latter with information that could be used to target refugees.
This situation is not limited to Kenya. Other nations have been indicted for collaborating with Ethiopian authorities in persecuting Ethiopian refugees. Amiable Ethiopians who have played public roles in community leadership, social media activists, and even political opponents have been serially harassed. Most notoriously among the hunted list are active political figures domiciled in the opposition who have foreign citizenship. It has been obtained from Human Rights Watch that kidnappings of Ethiopian asylum seekers in Sudan, Djibouti as far down to Uganda have occured. Once detained, these victims are transferred to Ethiopian officials illegally.
Observations by the Human Rights Watch in Somaliland uncovered the same transactions. Ethiopian asylum seekers in Somaliland were coercively repatriated back to Ethiopia. Most frequently, these asylum seekers were supporters of the Oromo party, the leading opposition in Ethiopia. Among those deported back from Somaliland, many were grilled through excruciating torture expeditions while others were intensely subjected to interrogation by Ethiopian consular officials. In addition, the UN refugee agency seems to have turned a blind eye to all these politically inspired actions.
These series of unlawful abductions and government subsidized persecutions have greatly eaten into the trust among Ethiopian refugees, as each is watchful and doubtful of the other. Such mistrust and sense of insecurity have greatly inhibited their normal activities, as some are reluctant to go to work, or tender applications for asylum.
The UN refugee agency has been accused of not doing enough to protect Ethiopian refugees in host countries. The international community itself is not without guilt as its efforts have not been enough in stemming the tides of refugee harassment. This has been admitted by the head of the United Nations refugee agency who bemoaned that the agency and the world at large needed to buckle up their shoes in the push for global peace and refugee protection.
“Without the shared sense of purpose needed to prevent, stem and solve conflicts, the world will continue to face new refugee flows, and must reinforce its capacity to respond,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in the yearly meeting of the Executive Committee of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“So far in 2017, more than two million people have fled their countries as refugees […] They often arrive sick, traumatized and hungry, in remote border locations, in communities affected by poverty and underdevelopment,” he continued.
If refugees can’t be safe in their host countries, then to what end did they leave their afflicted indigenous countries?