Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Ethiopia

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 19 April 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Ethiopia, 19 April 2012, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total populationUndetermined
Start of current displacement situationUndetermined
Peak number of IDPs (Year)Undetermined
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence
Human development index174

Several waves of conflict have caused large-scale internal displacement in Ethiopia. From 1977 to 1978, the country was at war with Somalia in which the United States and the former Soviet Union were involved. The Ethiopia-Eritrea War, fought between 1998 and 2000 over a disputed border area, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and displaced over 350,000 on the Ethiopian side alone.

Ethiopia has also experienced decades of violence between ethnic groups over resources, and fighting between government forces and insurgent movements seeking autonomy. In 2011 as in previous years, displacement was caused by localised violence in regions including Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz, and by ongoing protracted armed struggles for self-determination in Oromiya and Somali regions. In Somali region in the south-east of the country, fighting between the Ogaden National Liberation Front and government forces had been ongoing for over three decades.

In all these contexts, information on the scale of the displacement and the ongoing situation of IDPs has remained difficult to obtain due to restrictions on access. As of December 2011, humanitarian organisations estimated that about 300,000 people remained internally displaced by all these events. Nearly all of these IDPs had reportedly sought shelter with relatives or safety in the bush, rather than gathering in organised camps.

In displacement-affected regions including Somali, southern Oromiya and Gambella, the food security, health, nutrition and access to water of communities were all of major concern. The government and its international partners provided humanitarian assistance to communities in these areas, not primarily because they had been displaced but because they were affected by natural disasters.

The government has sought to resolve conflicts and violence through regional authorities, but their impact has remained limited. Ethiopia was one of the first countries to sign the Kampala Convention, but had not ratified it by the end of 2011.

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