AAU School of Law commemorates World Refugee Day-2022

The School of Law of Addis Ababa University celebrated World Refugee Day jointly with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR- Ethiopia) and the governmental Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS) at Mandella Hall of the University.

The day was commemorated with the global and specific themes: “Whoever.  Wherever. Whenever. Everyone has the right to safety,” – “The Role of the Academia in Advancing the Protection of Forcibly Displaced Persons.”

Getachew Assefa (PhD), Dean of the College of Law and Governance Studies, said in his opening remarks that the School wishes to involve actively in the prevention of situations that give rise to Refugees and internally displaced persons in securing their safety and protection.

“We want to expand the work(s) the School of Law has been doing with UNHCR- Ethiopia so far by broadening research in the areas and opening Masters level specialized studies on Refugees and Migration,” Dr. Getachew elaborated.

Mr. Mulualem Desta, Deputy Director of RRS, in his keynote speech addressed that Ethiopia currently hosts more than 869,000 refugees and asylum seekers from 26 countries mainly from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and the Sudan.

According to Mr. Mulualem, Ethiopian in its generous open door policy treats all refugees and asylum seekers without any discrimination. “Hosting this big number of refugees demands a huge collaboration domestically and globally,” he added.

He further stated that higher learning institutions could help the refugee operation by drafting laws that would help fetch resources to ensure the benefit of refugees and the host communities.

In his presentation regarding the establishment of the Ethiopian Network of Academics on Forced Displacement, Yonas Birmeta (PhD) from the School, explained that fostering strategic and inter-disciplinary as well as multi-sectoral collaborations with various stakeholders is mandatory.

 Informing policy interventions on knowledge generation and development through researches should be the role of the academic network on focused displacement; mentorship and development of young generation of scholars and practitioners focusing on forced displacement challenges and facilitating knowledge-sharing as well as collaborative actions ought to be considered as other roles of the academia, Dr. Yonas added.

Mamadou Dian Balde (PhD), Country Representative of UNHCR-Ethiopia, in his keynote address emphasized that greater burden-and responsibility sharing must be activated in the East African region, referring to support needed from the international community.

Referring to the Academic Network to be established, Dr. Mamadou said, “We need more evidence-based approach to improve refugee protection, resilience and solutions. We need academics, like lawyers, social scientists, economists, who can support with reliable and timely data, which is critical to improve the socio-economic conditions for refugees and host communities to identify and plan appropriate solutions.”

The event was marked with the presence of the Academic Community and invited guests from UN Organizations, Embassies, and Civil Society Organizations.

Reporter: Theodros Shewangizaw

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay