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Babies Born to Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia are being Denied Birth Certificates

Ethiopian refugee authorities stopped the service about 18 months ago during the war in Tigray, which came to an end last November. The northern region, which borders Eritrea, hosted several refugee camps and Eritrean refugees were victimised by all sides in the brutal conflict. Many fled to the capital, Addis Ababa, to continue the long and cumbersome task of organising visas to join family members living abroad. But the lack of crucial documentation for new-borns has meant that families expecting to reunite remain split. “My wife was told she could travel without her babies, which is a cruel choice to make,” another Eritrean man in Germany told the BBC. The Eritrean families are appealing to the Ethiopian authorities to end their ordeal. The Ethiopian Refugee and Returnees Services (RRS), the agency which is supposed to issue the birth certificates, has not responded to BBC requests for comment. According to the UN refugee agency, more than 157,000 Eritrean refugees are in Ethiopia – most fleeing political persecution and forced conscription.