UNHCR - RLO works to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
The UNHCR Regional Liaison Office for Africa (RLO) was opened in Addis Ababa in 1966 in order to establish strong relations with the then new Organization of African Unity and other international organizations based in Ethiopia. In 1969, UNHCR concluded a cooperation agreement with the OAU providing for mutual consultations on matters of common interest concerning refugees in Africa. More than forty years of partnership with the African Union has helped UNHCR to strengthen its collaboration with all members of the AU and more effectively address the problem of refugees in the continent.
Immediately after RLO’s establishment refugees starting coming to Ethiopia and the new office had to take on two major roles – the protection and assistance of refugees in Ethiopia on the one hand and its originally envisaged role of regional liaison. The office carries out these dual roles to this date. During the past four decades the office, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Government and other local and international partners, has assisted hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, Sudan and other countries of origin. Today, Ethiopia hosts some 90,000 refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea in camps around the country and a smaller number of urban refugees from several other countries in the capital, Addis Ababa.