Archbishop Heße meets KAAD alumni on his journey to Ethiopia

The Chairman of the Migration Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference and Special Representative for Refugee Issues, Archbishop Dr. Stefan Heße (Hamburg) travelled to Ethiopia from 20 to 25 May 2019 in a fact-finding-mission about the situation of refugees and internally displaced people in the region. He visited refugee camps in the Gambella region (Jewi Camp for South Sudanese Refugees) and in the Tigray region (Mai Aini for Eritrean Refugees). During his visit, he also attended a colloquium with members of the KAAD Alumni Association KASHA (KAAD Scholars from the Horn of Africa).

Together with his delegation he also met the KAAD alumna and acting Minister for Development and Planning of Ethiopia, Fitsum Assefa Adela. She briefed Archbishop Heße about the current tense situation in the country and the development plans. In addition to the 1 million refugees from neighboring countries such as Southern Sudan and Eritrea, about 3 million internally displaced persons are now seeking protection in various parts of the country due to the increasing number of ethnic conflicts. “The mutual hatred between different tribes and groups has reached dramatic proportions. The ethnic federalism characterizing Ethiopia is experiencing a crisis. In conversation with former scholarship holders of the Catholic Academic Service for Foreigners (KAAD) I learned at the same time that there are also encouraging approaches for a new social coexistence in Ethiopia.”, Heße reports. As an example, he cited the newly established National Reconciliation Commission. Dr. Marko Kuhn, Head of the Africa Department of KAAD, accompanied the Archbishop’s delegation before attending the annual KASHA Seminar in Gonder in Northern Ethiopia.

More information about the fact-finding-mission can be found under https://www.dbk.de/themen/fluechtlingshilfe/informationsreisen/reise-nach-aethiopien-2019/.
Source: DBK; © Deutsche Bischofskonferenz/Jörn Neumann