Human security is a new concept introduced by UNDP in 1994. This concept is sought to address security issue by focusing primarily on human individual as a referent of security rather than concentrating exclusively on the state security. Individual/people have been forced to flee from their home country as a result of conflict, Political instability, economic hardship and human rights violation. These people have been looking for safe place to stay and secures their lives. Eritrean refugees are among them who are looking for better environment and better survival. The study is aimed to answer the following research questions. How the government of Ethiopia, the UNHCR and the Eritrean refugees themselves view the refugees’ situation in relation to human security? How and to what extent do the government of Ethiopia and UNHCR seek to promote freedom from want and freedom from fear of Eritrean refugees? What are Eritrean refugees’ core concerns in the camp in relation to their ‘human security’? Do they consider freedom from fear and/or freedom from fear as more important? To answer these questions two in-depth interview with protection office from the government of Ethiopia and protection officer from UNHCR were conducted. In-depth interview with 12 refugees were also employed to understand their perceptional and experiences of camp live. Apart from this, secondary data from UNHCR, from the Government of Ethiopia and other literatures were used to analyze the data. Based on the finding, the Ethiopian government is performing well in protecting the refugees from physical violence. But there are gender based sexual violence among the refugees themselves. Nonetheless, in creating job opportunity and integrating the refugees with the local communities nothing is done by the Ethiopian government. This has caused by the lack of provision of social services in the camp. Shelter, food and employment opportunities are the sever problems of Eritrean refugees in the camp. The key responsibility of the UNHCR is providing protection and seeking permanent solution for the problems of the refugees. However, providing the international protection mainly shelter is insufficient in the camp. Moreover, there is very little durable solution of protracted refugees in the camp.

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Hintjens, Helen
Social Justice Perspectives (SJP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Legesse, Birhane Hailemichael. (2017, December 15). Human Security and Eritrean Refugees: the case of Mai-Ayni Camp, Ethiopia. Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Retrieved from