torture survivors, torture victims, refugees, humanitarian care, mental health, Center for Victims of Torture, UN refugee agency, refugee mental health, human rights, psychosocial services, refugee health, UNHCR, refugee-hosting countries, psychosocial support, humanitarian crisis, humanitarian emergency, Eritrea, Eritrea human rights, Adi Harush, Ethiopia, Eritrean refugees, Refugees in Ethiopia, Eritrea human rights violations, Eritrea forced conscription, Eritrea military conscription, humanitarian aid, human rights violations, women, human trafficking, torture survivor rehabilitation, mental health services, Mental health care
Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee to refugee camps in northern Ethiopia to escape forced military inscription, persecution, and torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that Ethiopia is now the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is host to 629,718 refugees. The largest refugee population is South Sudanese (247,000), followed by Somalis (245,000), and Eritreans (99,000). UNHCR says that, over the past seven months, almost 15,000 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia.
As the Eritrean government targets the families of young men who flee the country to avoid forced conscription, more women and children have also fled Eritrea seeking refuge in Ethiopia.
Upon reaching safety, however, many continue to experience the severe physical and psychological effects of their traumatic experiences. Our healing project in Ethiopia was started in 2013 to address their complex needs.
Once Eritrean refugees arrive at the camps, many hope for resettlement to third countries—a prospect that is difficult for most. Given that those refugees who cannot be resettled are also unable to return to their homes in Eritrea, some choose to make the dangerous and illegal journey through Sudan and Egypt in hope of reaching Israel or elsewhere to find work. Along the way, they face the risk of torture, detention and imprisonment at the hands of security forces and human traffickers.
Last November in The Huffington Post, CVT Executive Director Curt Goering called upon the international community to do more to provide for the basic human needs of Eritrean refugees.