The Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs(ARRA) is the government counterpart of UNHCR in Ethiopia. ARRA is the leading agency in the protection of refugees and overall coordination of refugee assistance interventions in Ethiopia.
The ARRA has been at the forefront of emergency responses and managing protracted refugee and returnee situations since the 1960s under different names. ARRA’s modern existence begins no earlier than the end of the 80s. Since its establishment as ARRA in 1992, its operation is mainly driven by three basic principles: maintaining Ethiopia’s long standing tradition of hosting refugees; meeting the government’s international obligations; and achieving the government’s foreign policy goals relating to building sustainable peace with all of its neighbours through strengthening people to people relations.
ARRA also advices policy makers to enact refugee-friendly legislations and other policy directives that also take into consideration the interests of the refugee-hosting communities. The recent set of pledges made by the Government of Ethiopia to involve refugees in its national and development agenda is one example of such favorable policies.
Ethiopia has a long tradition of receiving and hosting refugees mainly originating from neighboring countries. Owing to its open-door policy, the country has always been generous in granting a safe haven to people coming in need of refuge and protection irrespective of their nationality, religion or race. Refugee protection and the right to asylum is not a tradition new to Ethiopia rather it is a genuine and deeply rooted culture. Ethiopia, hence, sets global standards for its generosity and its humanity with regards to hosting so many refugees.
With a less- strict refugee policy than neighboring states, and its peace and stability, Ethiopia attracts refugees from various nationalities. Currently, Ethiopia hosts more than 800,000 refugees originating mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and the Sudan.
ARRA continues to work closely with stakeholders involved in refugee assistance and protection activities. These stakeholders would have a great impact on the success of our program interventions through the impact they would have on project success. Therefore effective Stakeholder Management should create positive relationships with stakeholders through the appropriate management of their expectations and agreed objectives.
These stakeholders include all entities that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a our programmes. Key stakeholders include the beneficiary refugees, hosting communities, government entities, UNHCR፣ UN agencies, international and national non-governmental organizations as well as donors. The management of stakeholders is a critical component to the successful delivery of our refugee programs and projects.
The ARRA cannot stand alone in refugee management operations. In this regard our partners and stakeholders play a big role in ensuring that refugees are well taken care of in the country. Our partners play different roles in refugee management, in providing humanitarian assistance and other services. We collaborate to support and seek solutions for refugees.