The opening of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border: a cause for heightened exodus of Eritreans

November 14, 2018

Following the official opening of the Serha- Zalembesa border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, a big number of Eritreans including children and families have crossed to Ethiopia.

This has also resulted in the increase of Eritreans flowing to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya via Ethiopia. The Eritreans who are flowing to Sudan from Ethiopia trough the border crossings of Metema and Humera include, women, children, unaccompanied minors and youths.

Human traffickers and smugglers are exploiting the situation to their advantage by trapping those who are in rush to further migrate from Ethiopia to other countries such as Sudan by imposing huge financial charges for transporting them. They charge them from 1200 to 7000 USD to transport them from Ethiopia to Khartoum, Sudan. Already quite a considerable number of Eritreans have arrived in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum by paying to human traffickers/smugglers from 4000 to 7000 USD. And it is expected the number of people who would be smuggled to Sudan will increase.

In the journey the migrants are becoming victims of natural and road accidents and violations human rights in the hands of the human traffickers/smugglers. Particularly female minors are being subjected to rapes by the human traffickers/smugglers on top of the huge amount of money they pay to be smuggled.

The sudden and unregulated opening of the Eritreo- Ethiopia border combined with the rumors that the borders are open temporarily and that the movements will be regulated are the cause for the increased exodus of people to Ethiopia.

And it is believed that the contributing factor for Eritreans to consider moving out of Ethiopia in a rushed way is the unorderly rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This rapprochement has created a sense of insecurity among the Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia pushing them to migrate further to neighboring countries. According to UNHCR reports, since the official opening of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia on the 11th of September 2018, about 10,000 Eritreans have applied for asylum in Ethiopia.

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