AROUND 5,000 Eritreans leave their country every month, fleeing compulsory and open-ended national service, political persecution and a failing economy, according to a new report by the Overseas Development Institute.
Many travel directly to neighbouring Ethiopia, where there is an open-asylum policy for refugees, including an extensive camp-based system of protection.
However, for many Eritreans, their journey doesn’t end in Ethiopia. Among other reasons, despite better prospects relative to Eritrea, many people continue to find it difficult to pursue decent there.
The ODI report looks at how policy decisions are influencing Eritreans’ decisions to move on, often towards Europe via the irregular route to Libya and across the Mediterranean.
In recent years 400,000 Eritreans, just over 6% of the population, have fled their country, many to Ethiopia.