The two-year conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region left in its wake horrific human rights violations and unprecedented and large-scale internal displacements in the region.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) face unique challenges that differ from those experienced by refugees. While refugees come under the mandate of UNHCR, there is no international institution with a broad mandate or the necessary resources to assist individuals displaced within their own country.
Although protecting IDPs is the state’s primary responsibility, many states lack the capacity and resources to provide effective protection for displaced populations, as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Therefore, it falls to humanitarian and development organizations to fill this gap.
In Ethiopia, where the large influx of IDPs has overwhelmed national authorities responsible for ensuring the basic needs and the fundamental rights of IDPs, it is clear that despite government and humanitarian efforts, the protection provided to displaced communities is insufficient.
To address this problem, USAID’s Feteh (Justice) Activity in Ethiopia provided technical and financial support for the Ethiopia Human Rights Council (EHRCO), a local civil society organization, to train 50 active CSOs in Amhara and Addis Ababa on the rights and protections of IDPs as well as on their role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. EHRCO has also undertaken an assessment on the situation of IDPs (current status, rights, protections, legal gaps, challenges, and recommendations of IDPs) in three regions of Ethiopia which host the majority of the country’s IDPs —Amhara, Afar, and SNNPR.
The report identifies the critical problems IDPs face, providing evidence-based recommendations for both government authorities and humanitarian and development organizations to implement long-term solutions to address this immense humanitarian crisis. The report was validated in Bahir Dar by justice sector stakeholders, and it will be printed and distributed to CSOs, justice bureaus, and other justice sector offices in Addis Ababa, Amhara, Afar, and the SNNPR Regions.
Using the findings and recommendations of the assessment report, EHRCO promoted the human rights protections of IDPs, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding through its social media campaign, and the report will continue to provide evidence in EHRCO’s continued advocacy efforts towards the realization of IDP protections under the law.
To learn more about Feteh’s work, go here.