As a founding member of the United Nations, Ethiopia’s role as a peacekeeping nation has been illustrious since the 1950s. Most of Ethiopia’s recent peacekeeping missions have centred around the Sudans. The country also maintains an open-door policy for hosting asylum-seekers and refugees, hosting over 900,000 refugees – mainly from neighbouring countries such as Eritrea and Somalia. 

Since Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, the country has witnessed an unprecedented acceleration of social change. In the months following election, Ahmed released thousands of political prisoners, ended a two-decade conflict with neighbouring Eritrea (by relinquishing disputed border territory), and appointed women to half of his ministerial cabinet positions. Ahmed himself served as a peacekeeper in Rwanda in 1995. 

As one of the first five African countries to confirm participation in the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), Ethiopia is committed to protecting refugees through the ambitious criteria set out by the UN General Assembly in its 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. Ahmed should use this challenge as a means to continue his roll-out of social change in this largely under-developed country. At the end of 2018, 50.7% of refugee children were enrolled in refugee camps-based schools, yet women and children are still at high risk of sexual violence in each of the twenty-six refugee camps in the country. 

Since 1995, Ethiopia has held general elections every five years, but in the latest, in 2015, no leader from the opposition party was elected. Several mass rallies have been held in support of the new Prime Minister’s policies. The country presently provides the largest number of troops per capita to the UN’s peacekeeping army. 

It will be interesting to see the impact of Ahmed’s relaxation in state control in Ethiopia, and whether the focus on maintaining a predominantly peaceful domestic policy will impact the country’s vital role in African peacekeeping and implementation of the CRRF. 

Photo: Somalian refugee camp in Ethiopia, UN Archive

Browse more STAND News article below or sign up to our Newsletter to get all the best news straight to your inbox.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2020: The Way to Sustainable Chocoholism

Have you ever wondered what our life would be like without chocolate? For Ireland, such a scenario would mean an especially great deal. After all, Irish people are the third-largest chocolate consumers in the world. But even though chocolate is generally associated with feeling good, there is a side to it that speaks a different truth.

The Legacy of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona

After beating off stiff competition to become the host city for the Summer Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain and the country’s second-largest city, took on the challenge to represent Spain on an international stage. A major redevelopment of Barcelona’s infrastructure and landscape began.

Short shorts film festival 2019 in Dublin – What to remember

Earlier this month, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) screened some of the best short films produced all over Europe, as part of the Short Shorts film festival. Screenings were hosted by language schools and embassies across Dublin.

Why Ireland should have its own Green New Housing Deal

Last week, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought the ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing Act’ to US congress. Our contributor Lyndsay Walsh explains why we need an Irish Green New Housing Act.

Single-Use Plastics levies: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly

Last week the Minister for the Environment announced that the Irish Government would be introducing a number of levies aimed at reducing single-use plastics. Two of the most notable levies being a ‘latte levy’ on disposable cups and a plastic bag levy increase. This is good news – so why has there been a murmur of controversy around this announcement?

Mental health: A musician and a psychotherapist

As part of a series of articles to raise awareness about Movember, contributor Conor Kelly talks about men’s experiences of dealing with mental and physical health issues. To do so, he interviewed a musician and a psychotherapist.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!