Refugees Deeply: Fear Dampens Hope Among Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia

IN JULY THIS year, Ethiopia and Eritrea shocked the world, thrilled their people and upended politics as usual in the Horn of Africa by signing an agreement of peace and friendship that ended 20 years of conflict.

Change has happened remarkably fast since then. Phone lines and flights that hadn’t operated for two decades reconnected the two countries, which share a 567-mile (912km) border. Families separated by war reunited in ecstatic celebration. The Eritrean embassy in Addis Ababa reopened and everyone expects land travel across the contentious border to resume soon.

But not everyone is excited about peace. On a recent research visit to Ethiopia, where we have been studying Eritrean refugee settlements for the past two years, we discovered that many refugees are afraid of what peace could mean for their safety and their future. Some refugees say that the end of conflict in the region may actually be more dangerous for them than war.

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