Rights and obligations of Ethiopians granted refugee status in Somalia by the National Refugee Commission. October 1987. [SOM1115]

Following the 1978 war over the Ogaden region between Ethiopia and Somalia, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian refugees fled to Somalia. Among these refugees, many were ethnic Somalis fleeing from the Ethiopian domination and others were Oromos fleeing from the Ethiopian villagization programme [ Horn of Africa Project, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, War and Famine: Indigenous Perspectives on Conflict in the Horn of Africa. Waterloo, Ontario, March 1988. ]. In October 1987, the United States Committee for Refugees published a report on the situation of Ethiopian refugees in Somalia. In general, Ethiopian refugees were eligible for free food, water, education and health care [ United States Committee for Refugees, Beyond the Headlines. Refugees in the Horn of Africa. 1988, p.21.]. Ethiopian refugees in urban areas were allowed to move in the cities without restrictions, to seek employment or to study [United States Committee for Refugees, Detained in Exile. Ethiopians in Somalia's Shelembod Camp. October 1987. p.19.]. Land was given to some Ethiopian refugees remaining in rural areas, allowing them to become self-sufficient [ Idem.].
In 1987, it was reported that the Somali army had forcibly recruited between five to seven thousand Ethiopian refugees to fight the Somali National Movement (SNM) (organized opposition to the government) [ Eric Sauvé, "Somalie: l'armée recrute de force des milliers de réfugiés éthiopiens", Le Droit. 2 novembre 1987.]. Recruitment raids are said to have occurred frequently since 1980 and sometimes to have been witnessed by representatives of international organizations [ Idem.].
The United States Committee for Refugees' report states that the rights of Ethiopians granted refugee status by the National Refugee Commission in Somalia were not the same for all. The situation of the Ahmaras, who Somali authorities identified with the ruling regime in Ethiopia and considered a threat to the security of the country, even though they had been granted refugee status, is different from that of the other refugees in Somalia. The Ahmaras have not been granted the same rights as other Ethiopian refugees and have been confined to Shelembod Camp, in southern Somalia, where they have been provided with a minimum of food rations, but not given clothing, utensils for cooking nor have they been afforded adequate medical care. [Idem. p.10.]
The situation of refugees at Shelembod camp, however has improved since 1986. Refugees are visited weekly by UNHCR officers; the water supply has been improved following to installation of a hand pump; refugees have been provided with a small stocked dispensary; latrines have been dug and some refugees have started farming. [ Idem. p.17.]