Ethiopia: AUC Chair worried over the rising number of African refugees

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Painting a gloomy picture of the refugee problems confronting Africa, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Mahamat, on Tuesday warned that the total number of displaced and stateless persons in Africa has drastically increased from 10.2 million to approximately 18 million between 2011 and 2016.

In a message to mark the World Refugee Day, celebrated on 20 June every year, Mahamat said the figure will continue to increase in 2017 due to persistent conflicts and insecurity in South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and effects of Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region affecting Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger.

"We are commemorating the 43rd World Refugee Day at a time when Africa is facing the challenge of hosting around 18.8 million forcibly displaced persons. The number of displaced persons on the continent is rapidly growing as some countries continue to face the challenge of conflicts and insecurity," he said.

He said that the majority of displaced populations are women and children who face the greatest risk of violence, exploitation, harassment and even human trafficking, adding that in particular, children carry the additional burden of separation from their families, abuse, neglect and forced conscription to armed forces and terrorist groups.

According to Mahamat, "With the forced displacement of people, we continue to witness the increasing number of migration flows, mostly of Africans attempting dangerous and deadly journeys across the Sahara desert, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aden to Europe."

He said that the increase in figures is because of the increasingly restrictive border control measures in regions of origin, transit and destination, many falling prey to criminal networks with trafficking along the main migratory routes, and abuse of human rights.

He said that the solution, therefore, to forced displacement lies within our countries by addressing the root causes, such as conflicts, instability and governance deficits. "We need to invest in human resources and develop our economies to drive the continental vision of Agenda 2063. In the meantime, the international community needs to step up its support to countries that are hosting large numbers of refugees in Africa, some of which are in a protracted situation for very long time."

Mahamat said: "On this 43rd World Refugee Day, let us recall our common humanity, celebrate tolerance and diversity and continue to open our hearts and doors to displaced populations across the continent.

"We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to those countries that have opened their doors to accept refugees. Particular gratitude goes to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda for hosting the highest number of refugees. We all need our concerted efforts to find sustainable solutions to their plight."
-0- PANA VAO 20June2017

20 Junho 2017 14:52:51




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