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Family reunification in Hitsas refugee camp

Video on the family reunification process
I will be calling out your names and subsequently disclose the information. Once we do that you will be going to your home. 1. Helen Tiumzgi 2. Henok Abraham Please raise your hands to confirm your presence.
All the children unaccompanied and separated children, for instance, they will register and get their refugee status from Endabaguna Reception Centre. Then they will travel by AYUM and sometimes by ARRA vehicle, and they will come to us at the refugee camp. Then at Hitsas Refugee Camp, in our compound, which is called the child-friendly space– only children are allowed to enter that space– we receive all the children. Then after we receive the children, we give some kind of orientations or induction by the national staff and by the incentive workers, especially the team leaders, as they will provide the orientation. Like, for example, who’s responsible in supervising all the children? Where are the children going to be placed? How about the shelter?
How about the feeding status? And any other– about, for example, family tracing and reunification process. And detailed parts of NRC will be presented or oriented for the children. And every IPs, Implementing Partners, like ARRA and UNICEF will be also introduced for the children. And which kind of service will be given by whom and where. So detailed orientation will be given to the children. Then we’ll try to call out each and every name of the children and all the children. If they are available, they will say yes. Then after we check the children are presented, we’ll take them by the team leaders and social workers to their shelters for permanent placement.
Then after we take the children to the shelter, as social workers, we’ll fill the full registration form. Sometimes there are some kind of difference in terminologies. Sometimes we call it the Best Interest Assessments, the BIA, which is already fulfilled by Unicerat in Endabaguna. But in Kaplivel, in Narsiside we write or fulfil the full registration form, which contains every detailed information or bio data of the child, including his families. And basically, it also contains the protection concern of children. So each and every detail data will be registered under the full registration by the social workers.
Then if the child has some kind of relatives in the camps or if there is someone who is willing to reunify the child as a foster care or a kinship care, we’ll form a child and adult verification form, which is one of the family tracing and reunification process. Then after we fulfil that one, we’ll place the child from the community care to the kinship and foster care placement.
Which region did you live in Eritrea? The name of the region? I lived in Mai-Ayni. Is that in the southern or central region? In central region.
How about him? The local administration’s name? Qwatit. As we see, we do have, you see, two kind of verification. The first one, the verification which has happened inside the camp, which is finalised, and it was called. But the second one, the verification was– not all the verification is a caregiver. Change of caregiver. The person staying in this camp can request for a reunion. Not the person who lives in Addis. Let me lay out to you the situation my sister, I had him with me initially. We approached them and they are requesting I gain documentation passing the guardianship from myself to him. Until he establishes guardianship himself first, you won’t be able to transfer it to him.
Well, then give us the document attesting to that. I won’t be able to issue you with a document for you to take to Enda Are. He needs to establish guardianship. Please listen to the law concerning transferring guardianship. He needs to first file to gain guardianship. By doing that he is becoming responsible to care for the child. The former caregiver was living inside the camp. And the other, the new caregiver, was living in Addis Ababa. He’s an Ababa refugee. He was granted an OCP. So if he wants to get the child from the camp to Addis, he needs to have this court decision paper, which is a court decision paper and approved by the ARRA Protection Units.
And once he does have the ARRA paper and other confirmation letter, we’re able to send the child to Addis. So the new caregiver need to have the court decision paper and the other confirmation letters. Initial or rapid assessment is made, like by getting the paper, the ARRA permit letter, which was issued at Addis level, which is our paper, if he is granted and if he’s legal, and if he has some kind of blood relationship with the child, we will ask the child and the older caregiver, the former caregiver. Then if the child is willing to reunify with the new caregiver, it’s OK. And we should ask the court decision paper and other confirmation letter.
Then we’ll release the child by fulfilling the release form and the reunification, the child-adult and the reunification forms. Then we’ll send the child to Addis.

In this video you will hear about family reunification in Hitsats refugee camp in the district of Shire, in Northern Ethiopia. You will learn how unaccompanied and separated children are reunified with family members through a kinship care programme facilitated by staff working for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

When unaccompanied and separated children first cross the border from Eritrea into Ethiopia, their details are documented by Ethiopian government officials. Border officials make a decision about the age of a refugee and whether they are unaccompanied or separated. UNHCR conducts the registration of refugees under an agreement with the Ethiopian Government’s department for Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA). You may remember you saw a film of this process in course step 2.8.

During the registration process, efforts are made to find out whether a child has any family members or other legal/customary carers in Ethiopia. If this is the case, and the child is willing to live with this carer, plans are made to reunify them. Unaccompanied and separated children who do not have parents or other carers in the camps are found a foster family, or live in small group houses amongst the camp community.

In the video you will see a group of unaccompanied and separated children arriving at Hitsats Refugee Camp in the region of Shire, Northern Ethiopia. These children have travelled across the border from Eritrea. When they arrive in the camp they are greeted by a team of social workers. They are provided information about where they are and what will happen next. They are told about some of the services in the camp and how they will each be assigned a social worker. The children are then taken to small group homes in the camp where they meet their social worker for the first time. Then they wait until they are reunified with kin, placed in foster care or remain in a small group home. When possible, the process of reunification takes place on the day they arrive or very soon after. In the video you will hear Tasfaye Tilahun, a Child Protection Officer working for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) explaining the process to us. This includes the use of the UNHCR Best Interests Assessment and Best Interests Determination process. Tasfaye mentions many acronyms of the different agencies involved in supporting families. They include International Organisation for Migration (IOM), ARRA, UNICEF and NRC.

In the video you will also see a child who is being reunified with family members. However, during the process, the social workers become aware of protection concerns as the family wanted to send the child to another relative. Tasfaye provides us with an explanation of what happened during the meeting. He tells us how a Court Issue Paper has to be received that means checks have been made and the child can safely be reunited with another family member. You will also hear the important step taken to ask the child what they want.

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Caring for Children Moving Alone: Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Children

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