History of RRS


Ethiopia has a long history and tradition of receiving asylum seekers and protecting refugees. This initiative emanates from the value Ethiopians attach to humanity and the commitment of the government in advancing the lives of refugees.

Ethiopia is home to 884,294 refugees (as of January 2023) from more than 26 countries settled in refugee camps across different regions including the capital Addis Ababa and other towns. Refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan take larger share.

Although Ethiopia has a long history of hosting refugees, administering refugee operations through a well-established government organization or lead agency did not exceed 40 years. A department dubbed “Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs” under the Ministry of Interior and later under the National Intelligence and Security Service was the first organization established by the government to lead and manage refugee and related operations in the country.

The organization was then renamed as “Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs” based on Proclamation No. 1097/2011 under the Ministry of Peace. Still though, the Agency changed its nomenclature to “Refugees and Returnees Service” based on Proclamation No. 1263/2014 under the National Security and Intelligence Services. 

Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS) is a governmental institution, which runs its activities financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Service also closely works with other UN agencies, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and national and international organizations.

What we do

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Contact us at the RRS office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.