Tag Archives: refugees

Borrell enhances efforts to protect refugees

«A new report by @Refugees shows that thousands of refugees and migrants continue to be victims of widespread and extreme abuses. The EU will enhance further its efforts to address these dramatic situations and protect these persons from the criminal bands that prey on them» the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted via his micro blog.

The spokesperson of the European Commission has clarified that the Tweet refered to the «dramatic sitution» caused by activities of the criminal bands, meaning the reiteration of the engagement, and underlining the will to increase the efforts «until the problem is solved».

«Fighting the human traffickers, and smugglers is not the only way, because there are several layers to support people, and prevent them from making this dangerous journeys, and we have been discussing this too, that we need to tackle the root causes of the migration, we need to cooperate with the countries of origin, and transit, and this is ongoing, and we are willing to enhance the cooperation even more to achieve results in terms of reducing the numbers of people, who are embarking on this journeys, reducing the number of people, who are forced to leave their homes, and make sure that those who leave are not exposed to this disgraceful and outrageous treatment, and exploitation by the smugllers and traffickers» the spokesperson has underlined.

The EU has already made the steps before, the spokesperson has reminded, mentioning the operation IRINI, to cut the flow of weapons to Libya, to enhance the UN arms embargo, but this opeation is also has a secondary task to deal with migration and fight against the smugglers. The EU has been undertaking measures, and taking steps, and is determined to continue fighting this “dramatic” situation of the refugees and migrants, the spokesperson concluded.

Image: Josep BORRELL

Cameroon neglected conflict

English-speaking separatists conflict in Cameroon has been rated as the most-neglected crisis in the world by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The annual list of neglected crises is based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and political and diplomatic neglect.

The Anglophone minority are fighting for autonomy to re-establish their cultural identity after decades of neglect by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

A group of the separatists have declared autonomy over two regions, the perspective rejected by President Paul Biya. Some African media reported in the beginning of June that Nigeria and Cameroon would donate part of their territories to form a new state identified as Ambazonia, being created by the United Nations. The acting Director-General of the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Mr. Adamu Adaji dismissed there reports that UN planned to cede 24 local government areas to a new country. However the have been not much of political will form the behalf of the international community to resolve the ongoing conflict.

The report also highlighted the ongoing armed conflict in the Sahel region, that includes Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which has resulted in the deployment of military forces from a host of European nations. There are nine African nations in the list of 10, with Venezuela being the only non-African this year.

 

Niger and Burkina Faso appeared on the list for the first time.

Humanitarian crises in all countries mentioned in this year’s list are expected to worsen throughout 2020, aggravated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Cameroon has also been hit by a refugee crisis from the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and continuous attacks in the north from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Protests against French majority rule in Cameroon’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions broke out in November  2016 after decades of heated debates on how both English and French-speaking cultures and languages can be more equitably represented in public life. The protesters amplified demands by Anglophone lawyers and teachers to have the Common Law and the English education system in their regions.

Cameroon’s English-speaking minority makes up 20% of the country while the French-speaking majority makes up the other 80%.

Clashes between separatist groups and state police and military have led to at least 2,000 deaths and about 500,000 people displaced. English-speaking separatist groups in southern Cameroon seek to break from French-majority Cameroon and create Ambazonia, a new nation.

By January 2017, the Cameroon government shut down the internet in its English-speaking regions for more than a year. The internet blackout — which lasted until March 2018 — occurred after a significant volume of images of torture and death appeared online that the government intended to prevent from being seen.

Next to French and English there are over 200 languages and cultures in Cameroon.

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

EU programmes for Horn of Africa

The European Commission has adopted eleven new programmes for the Horn of Africa under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

 

“These new EU programmes, worth over €134 million in all, will help to create lasting solutions for refugees and internally displaced people, as well as support vulnerable host communities in a region that hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – 4.5 million. Our existing programmes have already yielded substantial results, but the Trust Fund’s resources are quickly depleting. If we want to keep delivering, its resources have to be replenished.” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said.

Six programmes, worth €65 million, have been approved to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. This initiative is being piloted by several countries in the region; it helps refugee populations become self-sufficient and supports host communities.

  • In Djibouti, an €8 million programme will help integrate refugees into the country’s social protection systems, which cover health, education and employment rights.
  • In Kenya, a €17.8 million programme will boost asylum management, bolster economic self-reliance among refugees and host communities in Garissa County, and further support the development of the Kalobeyei settlement.
  • A €10 million programme in Sudan will fund educational support for refugee children, most of whom come from South Sudan.
  • A second programme, worth €3 million, will provide assistance to South Sudanese refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Uganda, an €18 million programme will improve people’s access to reliable information, training and to the justice system, including legal aid, counselling services and mobile courts.
  • In Ethiopia and Uganda, an €8.2 million Urban Displacement Pilot will encourage regional exchanges of experience and expertise to tackle the rising challenge of urban displacement.

Four national programmes have also been approved.

  • A new programme in Ethiopia worth €33.5 million will make households, communities and local authorities better equipped to manage, respond and adapt to disasters like drought and conflict.
  • In Sudan we are working to link humanitarian and development activities closer together to respond better to protracted crises. A €10 million programme will support forcibly displaced people and host communities in West Kordofan, building on the Commission’s existing humanitarian activities.
  • Another €15 million programme will address nutrition and food security issues in Sudan’s Red Sea State.
  • In South Sudan, a €5 million programme will contribute towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

Last but not least, a new €5 million regional programme will make better use of financial investigation and anti-money laundering tools to disrupt human trafficking and smuggling networks.

Two existing programmes have received additional funds: The Research and Evidence Facility will receive an additional €2.5 million, and an extra €3 million will be channelled into budget support for Somalia.

The total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Horn of Africa region now comes to 69, with an overall value of €1.28 billion.

Cameroon refugees continue to arrive to Nigeria

The principal and one teacher are still with the kidnappers. Let us keep praying,”  said Samuel Fonki, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon who negotiated to free 78 children, adding that one child had escaped independently.

The freed children were unharmed although their clothes were dirty and they appeared exhausted,

Cameroon Army spokesperson Didier Badjeck said the kidnappers released the children after the military found out their location. Two other children were still missing, along with the principal and teacher, he confirmed.

The number of Cameroonian refugees fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Nigeria crossed the 30,000 mark this week, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report.  Refugees fleeing the South-West and North-West Regions of Cameroon have been arriving since September 2017. Almost 600 arrived in refugee settlements in the last two weeks.

EU stands for “equal” partnerships with Africa

Today in Brussels at the European Council  the EU leaders will discuss the issue of migration  There will be a report on progress, as agreed in the June European Council conclusions.

While considering all elements and taking a comprehensive approach to migration, the leaders are expected to focus particularly on three aspects in their discussions:

  • cooperation with countries of origin and transit
  • the fight against people smuggling networks
  • the recent Commission proposals on returns, the Asylum Agency and the European Border and Coast Guard

The conclusions will also take into account the discussion already held at the informal leaders’ meeting in Salzburg on 20 September. The Austrian Chancellor is also expected to report on the reform of the Common European Asylum System and the prospects for progress on its various elements, also following the discussion held in the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 11-12 October.

“In the debate on migration, this has been a dead end in the conflict over quotas for many years. We now want to go the path of solidarity instead of obligatory quotas, where everyone contributes where they can. This is a very capable access” Austrian Cancellor Kurz said in his doorstep remarks.

There is still considerable pressure from the behalf of the Mediterranean flooded with migrants states to relocate them  along all EU members, and reform the Dublin regulation, imposing all responsibility onto the first receiving state.

However the consequent refusal of a number of the EU states to accept migrants should be compensated by the governments by allocation of  funds to share the burden to some extend.

While addressing migration issues the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini (pictured) called for “new equal political  partnership” with Africa.