The peoples of Djibouti, Somalia, and Eritrea are historically nomadic, migrating with flocks of camels and goats across borders that now separate nations. Somalis from Djibouti have also historically sought work across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms.
In mid-1993, some 18,000 Afar refugees from Djibouti fled into northeastern Ethiopia because of ethnic clashes and the civil war. A peace agreement was signed in 1994. Almost all voluntarily repatriated to Djibouti by the end of 1997.
Between September 1994 and November 1996, the UNHCR helped repatriate 31,617 Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti; 2,500 remained. In February 1997, there were 20,000 Somali refugees in Djibouti. As of 2000, there were 23,200 refugees in Djibouti, out of a total migrant stock of 28,000. In that year the net migration rate was 6.8 migrants per 1,000 population, a considerable change from the -11.4 migrants per thousand in 1990.