For years, Ethiopia has been protecting new arrivals from Eritrea crossing its border. In January, Ethiopia suddenly stopped registering many of the new arrivals from Eritrea arriving into the country. Among the group most affected by this shift are unaccompanied children.
Children make up a significant % of the Eritrean exodus. They flee repression, forced conscription even before they finish school. National service keeps their parents away for years & undermines children’s access to an education and a family life. 
A clear result of Ethiopia’s shift in policy towards Eritrean refugees: right now Eritrean children seeking asylum in Ethiopia face an impossible choice between lack of legal protection, uncertainty inside Ethiopia, or the risk of serious abuse if they return home.
To make matters worse, in March, without any consultation with affected communities or aid groups, the Ethiopian government announced that it was closing down one of the main refugee camps hosting Eritreans
The government’s plans remain very unclear, including on what measures it is taking to prepare for such a move, ensure affected communities have a say & ensure basic services are in place. Refugees we’ve spoken to say they are confused and very scared. 
What is clear is that #Ethiopia should continue to show leadership in its treatment of Eritrean asylum seekers and ensure that even during the Covid-19 crisis, with international support, it continues to protect asylum seekers and refugees from needless harm. End
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