A new report calls on the Ethiopian government to help count the country’s IDPs, or internally displaced people. The Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Service says estimates of the number of IDPs in Ethiopia vary widely. It says recognition of who is officially considered internally displaced is a politically sensitive issue that can affect international assistance.
Aninia Nabig is the author of the report. From the island of Corsica, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.
“The main concern is that certain groups of IDPs don’t get recognition from the government. And it is my understanding that can impede their access to food distribution. And also whenever they have protection issues, being IDPs those issues are not being addressed.”
Not all IDPs are alike. Nabig says, “Certain IDPs are addressed simply because either it is interesting for the government to point out they have IDPs, as for instance along the border with Eritrea as a result of the war. Or a region gets so much media coverage that they cannot deny their IDPs, like in Gambella, for instance. There are other regions, like Oromiya, where they have issues with insurgent groups, where there are also conflict IDPs, who then are not recognized as such. In a way it’s almost as if the conflict weren’t recognized.”
The report says if the internally displaced are not recognized, they may be forced to fend for themselves and try to find food. Nabig says they are “basic survival issues.” It calls on the Ethiopian government to work closely with the United Nations to conduct a survey of the IDPs.