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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ethiopia Foreign Ministry re-affirms its 'open-door' refugee policy

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thursday reaffirmed the country’s open-door policy for refugees that are flocking into Ethiopia mainly from its unsettled neighboring countries.

Presently hosting more than 850,000 refugees from 21 countries with South Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans, and Sudanese making up the majority, Hirut Zemene, Ethiopian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, affirmed the open-door policy.

Zemene, during her discussion with Rosemary McCarney, UNHCR’S Executive Committee member and Canadian Ambassador to the UN, on joint efforts underway to address the refugee crisis in the region, indicated that Ethiopia has managed to sustain national development together with addressing issues of refugee.

The East African country has registered an additional 54,107 refugees in just the first five months of 2017, according to recent figure by the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA).

Zemene has also outlined her country’s commitment to effectively implement the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in collaboration with UNHCR to bring lasting solution to the refugee crisis in the region.

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, during his recent visit to Ethiopia, also praised efforts made by the Ethiopian government in handling the refugee crisis.

Grandi, who attended the World Refugee Day commemorative ceremony held in Ethiopia’s Gameblla regional state, which hosts majority of the South Sudanese refugees, said "Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open."
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Over 500 DRC asylum seekers enter Zambia in one day

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Over 500 asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) entered Zambian within a day on Wednesday, making it the biggest single entry of new arrivals in three years, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency said on Thursday.

The asylum seekers were received in the northern part of Zambia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

The new arrivals are in addition to a sporadic and continuous stream that has characterized refugee inflows from the neighboring DRC into Zambia over the past three years, according to a statement released by the refugee agency.

Pierrine Aylara, the UNHCR Representative to Zambia, confirmed the arrival and added that more were being hosted by local communities.

The refugee agency is currently working with local communities in conducting a head-count to ascertain exact figures as the new arrivals were entering through different border entry points, some unmanned, she added.

"We have continuously been receiving a steady inflow of new arrivals from the DRC for some time now. UNHCR together with the host government and the Zambia Red Cross Society are doing everything possible in our limited capacity to protect and assist the new arrivals pending durable solutions," she said.

The refugee agency has since called for assistance from the international community for additional funds to enable it to address the basic humanitarian needs of new arrivals.

According to UNHCR figures, over 3,000 asylum-seekers from the DRC have been received in Zambia from January 1 to August 31, with the month of August accounting for about 1,000 arrivals.

Total population of DRC asylum seekers and refugees in Zambia currently stands at 25,063 as of July 31.

Zambia currently hosts some 58,000 refugees and others of concern, mostly from Angola, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Uganda.
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UN advisor urges Somalia to find durable solutions for IDPs

by Abdi MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A senior UN advisor on internal displacement on Wednesday called on Somalia to develop an effectively framework to provide durable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Walter Kalin, Special Advisor on IDPs to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/ Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said durable solutions for displaced persons in Somalia require combined humanitarian, development and peace approach.

"Somalia is one of the only countries in the world where solutions for IDPs are presented as a key development priority.

|While absolutely necessary for saving lives and provide immediate assistance, humanitarian interventions can not achieve long term solutions," Kalin said at the end of his week-long visit to Somalia.

"A combination of humanitarian, development, peace and state building approaches is required to achieve that objective and the National Development Plan provides a very solid basis for that," he added.

The UN official said an effective framework and durable solutions in the country coupled with strong government leadership and the mobilization of multi-year flexible funding would provide sustainable livelihoods and adequate standards of living to IDPs and their host communities.

"There are different categories of IDPs, those who came a long time ago, and those who have recently been displaced because of the drought," said Kalim.

"Thanks to the humanitarian assistance, we are able to save their lives, but in the long term, we need to switch to development approaches to help them become productive and self-sufficient again," he added.

Kalin, who until recently was also Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of IDPs, visited Kismayo, capital of Jubaland State; Dollow, a small town in the Geddo region bordering Ethiopia; Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West State; as well as Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

This was Kalin’s third mission to Somalia and to various IDP camps across the country. Kalin will present the findings of his mission to the international community during a briefing later this week.
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UNHCR to repatriate over 12,000 Burundian refugees in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency will next week start repatriating about 12,000 Burundian refugees sheltered in Tanzania’s western region of Kigoma, a tripartite meeting between Tanzania, Burundi and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agreed on Thursday.

A statement issued at the end of the one-day 19th tripartite meeting in the east African nation’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam said the refugees who have volunteered to return home will be repatriated from September 7 through December this year.

The meeting chaired by Tanzania’s Minister for Home Affairs Mwigulu Nchemba requested the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food for the returning refugees in Burundi for three months beginning September.

The meeting also appealed to the international community to provide necessary support for the voluntary repatriation process including support for the local communities in Burundi.

Nchemba said the government was not forcing the Burundian refugees to return to their country explaining that the refugees had volunteered to go back home on their own volition.

"No one has forced them to get back to their country.

"They have been self-motivated and what Tanzania is doing is to facilitate their safe return home," said Nchemba.

He said Tanzania was aware that the situation in Burundi was stable and allowed for the voluntary repatriation of the refugees.

Chansa Ruth Kapaya, the UNHCR Country Representative for Tanzania, thanked the governments of Tanzania and Burundi for their joint interest and keenness to respond to the request by the refugees to be assisted to return voluntarily to Burundi.

Kapaya also appreciated the hospitality and generosity of the government of Tanzania which has been host to thousands of refugees since its independence in 1961.

Today Tanzania hosts some 350,000 refugees and asylum seekers, of whom 256,850 have arrived from Burundi since April 2015.

On July 20, President John Magufuli called on the Burundian refugees now in the country to return home voluntarily and help build their country, asserting that now there was security in the tiny central African country.

Magufuli’s remarks were in support of an earlier plea by Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza, who had called on his fellow countrymen to go back home and help rebuild their country because the "war is over."

Magufuli also took a swipe at international humanitarian bodies for trying to convince refugees not to return to their home countries because of continued insecurity, just so they can continue receiving aid from donors.

The President also directed the Ministry of Home Affairs not to grant citizenship to any more Burundian refugees coming into Tanzania.

In June this year, the UN refugee agency said Tanzania remained the largest host of Burundian refugees.

Tanzania is currently home to more than 315,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They are hosted in three refugee camps of Nyarugusu, Nduta, and Mtendeli, which face severe pressure.

On Sunday, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) appealed for 23.6 million U.S. dollars from now through to December this year to be able to continue meeting the food and nutritional needs of refugees in Tanzania.

The world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide said in a statement that it has been forced to reduce food rations for 320,000 refugees in Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu Camps in northwest Tanzania as a result of funding shortfalls.

WFP provides refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with five food commodities of maize meal, pulses, super cereal, vegetable oil and salt.

"Due to funding shortages, all five commodities were reduced for the August distribution, reaching only 62 percent of the 2,100 required kilocalories which is the recommended daily calorie intake," said the statement.

"Without an immediate response from donors, further ration cuts will be necessary as food stocks are simply running out," said WFP Tanzania Country Representative Michael Dunford.
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UN sends US 21 million dollars to help Sudan cover humanitarian needs

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) on Thursday announced allocation of 21 million U.S. dollars to address "the most critical humanitarian needs" in Sudan.

"The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) have together allocated 21 million dollars to address the most critical humanitarian needs," said UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement Thursday.

The fund also aims to increase self-reliance of communities in newly accessible areas in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area, as well as in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the statement said.

"This timely funding support will enable humanitarian partners in Sudan to provide life-saving food support, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and other assistance to thousands of children, women and men in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile," said Marta Ruedas, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

In June 2017, the UN launched the Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan with the aim to raise a total funding of 804 million dollars, to benefit some 4 million people.

The UN says the humanitarian needs in Sudan remain significant, with 4.8 million people in need of assistance, including 2.3 million internally displaced persons.
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WFP appeals for US $23.6 million to meet food needs for refugees in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua ) -- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Sunday appealed for 23.6 million U.S. dollars from now through to December this year to be able to continue meeting the food and nutritional needs of refugees in Tanzania.

The world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide said in a statement that it has been forced to reduce food rations for 320,000 refugees in Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu Camps in northwest Tanzania as a result of funding shortfalls.

WFP provides refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with five food commodities of maize meal, pulses, super cereal, vegetable oil and salt.

"Due to funding shortages, all five commodities were reduced for the August distribution, reaching only 62 percent of the 2,100 required kilocalories which is the recommended daily calorie intake," said the statement.

"Without an immediate response from donors, further ration cuts will be necessary as food stocks are simply running out," said WFP Tanzania Country Representative Michael Dunford.

Dunford added:

"While WFP appreciates the support received so far, we are urgently appealing to donors to quickly come to the aid of the refugees and provide additional funding so that we can return to full rations and avoid any prolonged negative impacts."

The statement said reducing rations result in far-reaching and potentially life-altering consequences for refugees.

Cutting the intake of kilocalories and nutritional support can lead to acute malnutrition and increased vulnerability to disease, it said.

In addition to the five food items, WFP also provides hot meals for refugees upon arrival, supplemental rations for pregnant and nursing women and food assistance to hospital in-patients and people living with HIV/AIDS, said the statement.

It added that hot meals for refugees entering the country and supplementary feeding programmes remain unaffected by the current ration reductions.
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UNHCR repatriates over 70,000 Somalis refugees from Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency said Thursday it has repatriated some 70,516 Somali refugees from Kenya since the voluntary return exercise begun in December 2014.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that a total of 68,697 individuals from Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya were assisted in the framework of voluntary return to Somalia.

The UN refugee agency said some 29,383 refugees returned in 2017 alone, noting that currently there are 18,274 registered refugees willing to return to Somalia.

"During the Kenyan election, the Return Help Desks (RHDs) have recorded reduced number of refugees willing to return.

"Arrangement has been put in place during the election period to ensure continuation of voluntary return by air without stoppage," UNHCR said.

The UN agency expressed its readiness to receive refugees returning home by road, adding that security assessment on road safety between Dadaab and Dhobley will be carried out after the Kenyan election prior to resumption of the road movements.

More than 2 million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered its third decade.

An estimated 1.1 million people are displaced within Somalia and nearly 900,000 have become refugees in the region.

Experts say continuing political and security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees.

           

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