January 24, 2023 (ADAMA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today kicked-off a three day Capacity Building workshop on Refugee Protection and Management for Ethiopia’s Refugee and Returnee Services Technical Staff, in Adama, Ethiopia.
The objective of the training is to strengthen the technical capacity of RRS’ staff and to enhance understanding and implementation of key principles in international protection and strengthening the asylum system in Ethiopia.
The Opening of the IGAD Refugee and Returnee Services (RRS) Protection Workshop was officiated by Dr. Kebede Tsegaye, Senior Coordinator, Education, Science, Technology & Innovation, Health and Social Development Division, IGAD, and Tesfahun Gobezay Director General of Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS) as well as Leslie Esther Velez, Assistant Representative for Protection, UNHCR Representation in Ethiopia.
On behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workeneh Gebeyehu and Madam Fathia Alwan, Director for Health and Social Development Division, Dr. Kebede Tsegaye, Senior Coordinator, Education, Science, Technology & Innovation emphasized that the training is geared towards strengthening the capacity of IGAD Member States and harmonizing the understanding of refugee laws, and legal frameworks governing refugee protection.
Cognizant of the changing nature of the refugee operation globally as a whole and the IGAD region in particular, Mr Tesfahun Gobezay Director General of Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), in his opening remarks stated
‘ I take this training as an ideal platform to discuss and deal with common regional issues in regards to the protection of persons of concern and I thank RRS and IGAD leadership and experts for taking the initiative and making this training workshop happen, one of the many forums we expect to happen in Ethiopia.’
Leslie Esther Velez, Assistant Representative for Protection, UNHCR Representation in Ethiopia, on her part, reaffirmed that UNHCR is currently mapping comprehensive training needs of RRS staff in order to organize complementary protection training opportunities in 2023.
Forty Participants drawn from Refugee and Returnee Services Technical Staff from field offices and refugee camps are expected to undertake the training facilitate by IGAD and UNHCR technical staff. The activity was supported by funding through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
The expected outcomes of the work shop will be strengthened access to fair and efficient asylum procedures and enhanced understanding of protection principles, assistance and solutions for vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern.
It is known that Ethiopia is one of the largest refugees hosting countries in the world, hosting 873,046 registered refugees as of 30 August 2022.