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Sunday, June 21, 2015

On World Refugee Day, UN chief appeals for hearts to be open to refugees everywhere

With one in every 122 human beings a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is marking World Refugee Day by calling urgently on “governments and societies around the world to recommit to providing refuge and safety to those who have lost everything to conflict or persecution.”

Near the Boyabu Refugee Camp refugees buy cassava, a favorite staple in the region.
Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched a social media campaign urging people to get involved on the Day, marked annually on 20 June, to introduce individual refugees such a Syrian saxophonist in Thailand to an Afghan architect in Greece to give a face to the millions of families who have fled their homes to escape war or human rights abuses.

In his message on the Day, the Secretary-general noted that at the end of 2014, 59.5 million persons, the highest number on record, were forcibly displaced around the globe.

“The ongoing conflict in Syria, as well as crises in Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central African Republic, north-eastern Nigeria and parts of Pakistan, have led to a staggering growth and acceleration of global forced displacement,” he said.

“In 2014, 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced every single day, a rate that has quadrupled in only four years,” he said. “At the same time, many long-standing conflicts remained unresolved and the number of refugees who were able to return home last year was the lowest in over three decades.”

Mr Ban Ki-moon
The UN chief reminded the world that many of those displaced have had “no choice but to try and reach safety using dangerous means, such as has been demonstrated by the sharp increase in irregular boat movements in the Mediterranean, South-East Asia and elsewhere. “

“At times like these, it is essential that Governments and societies around the world recommit to providing refuge and safety to those who have lost everything to conflict or persecution,” he said.
Saying “refugees are people like anyone else, like you and me,” Mr. Ban said, “on this World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our hearts to refugees everywhere.”

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Syria is the world's biggest producer of both internally displaced people (7.6 million) and refugees (3.88 million at the end of 2014). Afghanistan (2.59 million) and Somalia (1.1 million) are the next biggest refugee source countries.

Ahead of the Day, UNHCR released its latest Global Trends:World at War, which revealed that one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, says UNHCR, it would be the world's 24th largest.

“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres declared in a press release issued Thursday on the report's release.

“It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop wars and build and preserve peace,” he added.

“With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime for protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid and refuge are being abandoned,” Mr. Guterres continued.
“For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution.”

SOURCE UNHCR Press Release

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nyarugusu Refugees Get Hefty Support

LOCAL growers of beans have benefited from a World Food Programme (WFP) purchase of 400 metric tonnes of legumes under the Japanese support to refugees in Nyarugusu camp in Kigoma Region.

During a brief handover ceremony of 91 metric tonnes of vegetable oil at Dar es Salaam port, WFP Representative Richard Ragan said that the donation will contribute greatly towards the food and nutrition security of some 70,000 refugees living at the camp.

"Among the 70,000 are 14,000 children under the age of five, 3,150 pregnant and nursing women and 1,750 patients receiving medical care," he said.

Mr Ragan described the contribution as crucial to the health and well-being of the refugees and that from the money, WFP will purchase Super Cereal, maize, beans and oil to be included in the monthly general food distribution and nutrition activities.

He said that the assistance from Japan would also help boost the local economy through the WFP Purchase for Progress initiative.

In 2013, some 10 million US dollars (over 16bn/-) worth of food were procured in the country for the refugees operation and WFP Programmes around the world.

The Japanese Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Masaki Okada, said that his government has been a close supporter to the refugee population in the country and pledged to continue.

"As a response to the appeal by WFP, the Japanese government has contributed 1.4 million US dollars to implement its refugee programme in Nyarugusu camp.

The government's response reflects shared concerns amongst the people of Japan about the impact of conflicts," he explained, noting that Japan will support the programme to the end of the year.

A total of 91 metric tonnes of vegetable oil was handed over while some 367 metric tonnes of corn soya blend, 400 metric tonnes of beans and 444 metric tonnes of maize have already been delivered to Nyarugusu camp.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Mathias Chikawe, said that as the world commemorated World Refugee Day, it was noted with concern the escalating violence and conflicts that continue to embrace the generation, pushing refugee and displaced numbers to unprecedented levels, unseen in these times.

Mr Chikawe said that at a time when the global economy is still battling with the effects of he yesteryear recession doldrums, global assistance to refugee programmes had been hit hard.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UNHCR alarmed at air raid on vulnerable refugees in South Sudan

The UN refugee agency on Tuesday condemned an air attack earlier this week that left at least one Sudanese boy injured and 14 other refugees missing in South Sudan.
"Bombing of civilian areas must be condemned in the strongest terms," Mireille Girard, UNHCR's representative in South Sudan, said of Monday's attack, which targeted Elfoj in South Sudan's Upper Nile state.
There were two strikes. In the first one, several bombs fell at the refugee transit site, located less than 10 kilometers from the border with Sudan. At the time, about 5,000 refugees were at the site from where movement to new settlements takes place on a daily basis.
UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) teams with 14 trucks were supervising relocation operations when the first wave of bombings took place. Refugees jumped out of the trucks and scattered. Agency staff also had to seek safety.
After the bombings, agency staff rapidly mobilized the refugees. The convoy left for a safe location, some 70 kms from the border, with 1,140 individuals on board. This brought to almost 11,500 the total number of refugees moved from Elfoj since relocation operations started on January 6. About 4,000 more refugees relocated spontaneously from Elfoj.
Girard said the attack showed the hazards that refugees continue to face during the flight. "We are racing against time to move the refugees away from volatile border areas to safety before the seasonal rains begin and roads become impassable," she stressed.
There have been previous attacks on Sudanese refugees in border areas. Last November, New Gufa – an entry point for refugees in Maban County, Upper Nile state – was bombed over several days. Yida refugee settlement, in Unity state near the border with Sudan's South Kordofan state, was also hit by air raids.
Overall, more than 20,000 refugees have relocated spontaneously or with the assistance of the international community from border areas to new settlements in Upper Nile and Unity states. Last week, UNHCR and its partners began relocating Sudanese refugees from Yida.
In total, more than 78,000 people have fled Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since August last year. Of this number, more than 54,000 are in South Sudan's Upper Nile state and 24,000 in Unity state.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Festive Season give the best gift possible to Somali refugees: save their lives

After traveling for weeks across arduous terrain with little or no food and water 5 year old Yusuf and his family arrived hungry and tired in Kenya. Drought in their homeland of Somalia killed their animals and crops and forced them to flee for their lives.

On top of the constant hunger and extreme weather conditions they were forced to endure, they were also robbed of all their money and possessions along the way; arriving in Kenya with literally nothing except the clothes upon their backs.

Thanks to assistance from UNHCR they are now starting their new life as refugees in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex, but their troubles are far from over.

“I remember the hunger, the thirst, and the weakness as we made our way to the border… Four of the children of the families we were traveling with died. We helped bury them and then carried on." Yusuf's father Abdullahi.

Refugees like Yusuf and his family are in need of everything from shelter, to water to healthcare, and they need it now.

Help us today to give refugees hope for the future

Your donation will allow UNHCR to deliver humanitarian aid and assistance both inside Somalia and across East Africa to save the lives and protect thousands of children like Yusuf.

Somalia is currently suffering from one of the worst humanitarian crises in memory. As if 20 years of civil war weren’t enough, Somalis are also now facing the worst drought in 60 years.

In 2011 alone more that 163,000 Somalis have fled to Kenya and a further 98,200 are currently seeking refuge in Ethiopia.

Many do not survive the perilous journey to cross into neighbouring countries. Mothers have been forced to watch, powerless to do anything, as their children die in front of their eyes. Those that do make it to refugee camps are arriving in terrible conditions.

They need urgent medical assistance and nutritional support. They also need clean drinking water and shelter to protect themselves from the harsh climate.

UNHCR can give them this. We provide shelter, food, water, medical care and other basic necessities for refugee children and their families.

Around the world, millions of people rely on the UN Refugee Agency for their survival. Some refugees may need our help for only a short time. But many face years living in isolated refugee camps.

Please help by giving what you can this festive season. Here are just a few examples of what your money could provide:

US $10 provides 10 bars of soap to help stop the spread of diseases such as Cholera.
US $50 provides therapeutic feeding kits – each one helps feed five children.
US $100 provides survival kits – each has a blanket, mattress, kitchen set, stove and soap.
US $450 provides an all-weather tent to shelter a refugee family.
Every dollar you give means a life saved.

Thank you for your support.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Support refugees’ rights: UN

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has blasted countries that enact laws meant to suppress migrants.

With an estimated three million of its people exiled in South Africa alone, Zimbabwe is one of the world’s highest refugee-producing countries. Most of the exiles are being suppressed and harassed in their host countries.

The UNHCR Chief said “dramatic” events had forced hundreds of thousands of people to seek refuge across borders in 2011, when more than 750 000 people became refugees, following upheaval and conflict in Africa and the Middle East.

“Global forced displacement figures already stood at a 15-year high at the end of 2010, with 43.7 million people uprooted by conflict and persecution worldwide,” he said. “Recent events indicate that this number is likely to rise again by the end of the year. 

These events have amply demonstrated why it is so important to do what we have gathered here to do: to reengage with and recommit to the core values underpinning the entire system of international protection – tolerance, solidarity and respect for human rights and human dignity.”

He accused some populist politicians and irresponsible elements of the media of exploiting feelings of fear and insecurity to scapegoat foreigners, trying to force the adoption of restrictive policies and actively spreading racist and xenophobic sentiments.

“Having been in government myself for many years, I know that no state can disregard the security of its citizens, their social and economic well-being and the cohesion of society,” he said. “States also have the right to define their own immigration policies; provided they do so in respect for human dignity and basic rights.

But all this can be done, and needs to be done, in ways that ensure protection is granted to those who need it. This means guaranteeing their access to territory, fair treatment of their asylum claims and adequate integration policies that contributes to social harmony.”

He said that despite the 1951 Convention, implementation challenges remained. Many refugees still do not enjoy the minimum standards it sets out, as many systems are marred by poor quality decision-making, disproportionately low recognition rates or a lack of access to legal services.

“In many situations, refugees do also not have freedom of movement, access to social care or permission to work. The burden of hosting large refugee populations is borne predominantly by developing countries.

They have granted asylum to 80 per cent of the world’s refugees, and more than one third of the 20 top refugee-hosting states are Least Developed Countries. As many of these states struggle to provide even basic services to their own populations, the generosity they show towards hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries demands an effort that is disproportionate to the resources at their disposal.”


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

East Africa drought: Cholera outbreak in Kenya camp

There has been an outbreak of cholera in the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya, home to Somalis fleeing famine and conflict, the UN has said.
It may have started among new arrivals at the camp where one person has died and there are now 60 cases, it says.
The aid operation at Dadaab camp was scaled back last month after the abduction of two aid workers.
Kenya blames Somali Islamist militants for the kidnappings and has sent troops into Somalia in pursuit of them.
But the al-Shabab group, which controls most of central and southern Somalia, denies it is behind the abductions.

Nearly half a million people have fled Somalia to seek assistance in Dadaab over the last two decades.
Rains and flooding
 The UNHCR refugee agency says insecurity is still hampering aid efforts in the area, despite the deployment of 100 Kenyan policemen in the last month.
It says the situation has been exacerbated by the outbreak of the waterborne disease.
Rains ease Somali drought
The UNHCR and other aid agencies have set up cholera treatment centres in the camp for severe cases.
"Rains and flooding had affected the trucking of water to parts of the camps, and we fear some refugees resorted to using unsafe water from flooded areas," the UNHCR said in a statement.
The drought in East Africa is the worst in 60 years, with Somalia worst affected.
Some areas have been declared famine zones, and many thousands have fleeing their homes to seek assistance over the borders.
Kenya's incursion has contributed to a slowing in flow of Somalis to Dadaab, but many are still arriving in Ethiopia.
A fifth refugee camp is being set up in Ethiopia and more than 7,600 recent arrivals from Somalia are now encamped at the transit centre, the UN said
Two Spanish women working for the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Dadaab were kidnapped in October.
Other abductions include a Kenyan driver also seized from Dadaab, a British woman taken from a coastal resort and a French woman who suffered from cancer.
French authorities say she has since died in Somalia.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than 20 years and has been wracked by fighting between various militias.

Al-Shabab has not previously seized foreigners from its own territory, but armed gangs on land and pirates on the sea are known for kidnappings - demanding huge ransoms for the release of their captives.
The group has vowed to retaliate against Kenya for sending troops into Somalia. It has accused the Kenyan army of killing civilians.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Asylum applications in industrialised countries jump 17 percent in first half 2011

GENEVA, 18 October 2011 (UNHCR) - Industrialized countries saw a 17 per cent increase in asylum applications in the first half of this year, with most claimants coming from countries with longstanding displacement situations. 

This is according to a report released today by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. UNHCR’s Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, First Half 2011 report shows that 198,300 asylum applications were lodged in the period between 1 January and 30 June 2011, compared to 169,300 in the same period a year earlier.

As application rates normally peak during the second half of the year, UNHCR forecasts that 2011 may see 420,000 applications by year’s end - the highest total in eight years.

2011 has so far seen major forced displacement crises in West, North, and East Africa. The report finds related increases in asylum claims among Tunisians, Ivoirians, and Libyans (4,600, 3,300 and 2,000 claims respectively) but overall, the impact of these events on application rates in industrialized countries has been limited.

Taking the 44 countries surveyed in the report as a whole, the main countries of origin of asylum-seekers remained largely unchanged from previous surveys: Afghanistan (15,300 claims), China (11,700 claims), Serbia [and Kosovo: SC Res. 1244] (10,300 claims), Iraq (10,100 claims), and Iran (7,600 claims). 

“2011 has been a year of displacement crises unlike any other I have seen in my time as High Commissioner. 

“Their impact on asylum claims in industrialized countries seems to have been lower so far than might have been expected, as most of those who fled went to neighbouring countries. 

Nonetheless we are grateful that the industrialized states have continued to respect the right of people to have their claims to asylum heard,” said António Guterres, head of UNHCR.

By continent, Europe registered the highest number of claims with 73 per cent of all asylum applications in industrialized countries. Only Australasia saw a significant decline in applicants: 5,100 claims compared with 6,300 a year earlier.

By country, the United States had more claims (36,400) than any other industrialized nation, followed by France (26,100), Germany (20,100), Sweden (12,600), and the United Kingdom (12,200).

The Nordic region was the only part of Europe to see a fall in asylum applications. Meanwhile, in Northeast Asia applications more than doubled - 1,300 claims were lodged in Japan and South Korea compared to 600 in the first half of 2010.

The report does not show how many applications translate into the granting of asylum (ie, refugee status), nor are its findings an indicator of migration rates.

The Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, First Half 2011 report complements UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report, issued in June each year, and which this year found that 80 percent of refugees are being hosted in developing countries.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Refugee Local Integration Program

Old Settlements: The Government of Tanzania is currently holding consultations on the way forward with regards to the planned relocation and local integration of 162,156 former Burundian Refugees from 1972 who have been naturalized.
The Relocating Citizens are sought to move from three old settlements in western Tanzania to 16 selected receiving regions where they are to receive their citizenship certificates. During a registration for relocation every naturalized household already chose its priority regions.
Now they are awaiting the notification of their final allocation. UNHCR is ready to provide local integration support at district level for the naturalized population and seeks to engage development actors.
Villages: 22,337 Burundian refugees from 1972 spontaneously settled in villages in Kigoma region have been registered and verified in 2010 for durable solutions. The process to facilitate their application for naturalization is still to be worked out. 141 voluntary repatriated to Burundi since the beginning of 2011.

Chogo Settlement: Since 2005, 1,423 Somali Bantus in Chogo Settlement, Tanga region, were also granted citizenship and were allowed to settle permanently in Tanzania. The further 1,515 Somali Bantu refugees are being processed for the same durable solution.
Budget 2011 (in million USD)
By population
Funds available
Refugees in the Camps and Mixed Migratory Flows
Local Integration for Newly Naturalized Tanzanians

Activities in the camps
Some 100,000 refugees are consolidated in 2 camps (compared to 11 in 2007) in Kigoma. UNHCR and partners provide them with protection and rights-based assistance such as shelter, food, health, education, water and sanitation.
• Voluntary Repatriation: 364,000 Burundi and 66,000 Congolese camp refugees were assisted to return home since 2002 and 2005 respectively.
So far in 2011, a total of 9 Burundi and 91 Congolese camp refugees repatriated.
• Resettlement: 2,666 refugees have been resettled in 2010 and 94 so far from the beginning of 2011.
• Asylum Seekers: A total of 1,547 individuals. Some are pending appearance before the eligibility committee while others are awaiting the final Refugee Status Determination appeal decisions.
Sourced from UNHCR Tanzania

Population of Concern

1 July ‘11
1 Jan ‘10
1 Jan’09

Burundi refugees

DRC refugees

Other nationalities


Burundi refugees


Somali refugees



Burundi refugees