Mary Robinson has been digging holes in Ethiopia – and has an important message for Europe

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Mary Robinson helping to plant a tree during a trip

Mary Robinson helping to plant a tree during a trip

The former Irish president thinks we can learn a lot from the east African nation when it comes to looking after refugees.

FORMER PRESIDENT OF Ireland Mary Robinson has called on European leaders to look to Ethiopia when it comes to the treatment of refugees.

Despite being on the United Nations’ list of the world’s least developed nations, Ethiopia has taken in more refugees than any other country in Africa.
“It’s really depressing at the moment that there is so much attention on refugees and migrants nearly losing their lives then not being treated well when they get to Europe,” Robinson said.
Yet [in] Ethiopia… they are made welcome and they are cared for, the way it should be. Europe can learn from what is happening here in Ethiopia.

Robinson – the UN Special Envoy for El Niño and Climate – has been in the east African nation on a three-day tour.
Part of her trip has involved observing the impact of El Niño, a warm weather phenomenon that can cause variations in temperature and rainfall in equatorial countries – with it partly responsible for the current drought in Ethiopia, the worst in the country for 50 years.

While El Niño is a natural phenomenon, its effects are aggravated by man-made climate change.
“Many African countries want to go carbon neutral as do other developing countries,” Robinson said.
The former Irish president was in the country accompanying Concern Worldwide, GOAL and Trócaire, supporting the humanitarian and development efforts of these Irish-based charities.