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UNHCR to eradicate statelessness in member countries by 2024

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Mrs Liz Ahua, Outgoing Regional Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), West Africa said the agency plans to eradicate or reduce statelessness in ECOWAS member countries by 2024.
She made this known while fielding reporters’questions at the sideline of the valedictory programme organised by UNHCR Nigeria in Abuja.
reports that Ahua proceeds to Democratic Republic of Congo as UNHCR’s Country Representative.
According to her, a stateless person is that person that has no access to any right in a country.
“You may be sitting in Nigeria and you think you are a Nigerian but when the chips are down, you need passport, for your child to go to school and you need to present documentation then you find out you actually do not belong to that country.
“So you cannot have access to any rights in a particular country,” she said.
Ahua said that UNHCR has been working with the ECOWAS Commission since 2015 in order to eradicate statelessness, adding that the number of people are increasing.
“We decided to go through the ECOWAS Commission, especially its commission for Social Affairs since 2015, we have been working in very close proximity.
“ECOWAS has adopted across the board our work methodology in the region today, we have 12 out of the 15 countries that have signed the conventions, they have also established work plans.
“So progressively, information is going out to people to sensitise them to know more about statelessness, to also sensitise them to establish the kind of programmes that will make it easy for people to become less expose to statelessness”.
She explained that for this to be achieved it would start with registration and also knowing your populations as a country.
She said that ECOWAS region is working on issues of census, documentation and identity cards, adding that UNHCR do not work alone but with the governments, civil societies and the media.
Ahua said that by October 2019 member states would be ask to present their engagements and specific action they would carry out to eradicate statelessness completely.
The Outgoing Regional Representative, advised Nigerians on examplenary life.
She said that Nigerians should brace up to their responsibility, be good example to others.
“My message to Nigeria, the government and the people as a Nigerian is that we have a huge responsibility to help the continent.
” Because out of 10 African refugees about five are Nigerians, that is why my advice is that we must be of good example.
“If we must deal with the Nigerian crises all hands must be on deck to stop the crises in the North East which is really dragging our development.
UU/LIZ/ABI
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

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UNHCR seeks solutions for urban refugees in eastern Africa amid COVID-19

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The UN refugee agency said Tuesday it’s working closely with partners and governments in eastern Africa to find solutions for urban refugees in these challenging times sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UNHCR said urban refugees are struggling to survive as economic impact of COVID-19 worsens in East, Horn and Great Lakes of Africa.

“Refugees in urban areas across the East, Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa are struggling to meet their most basic needs as the economic impact of COVID-19 begins to take hold,” it said in a statement.

UNHCR is requesting some 13.4 billion shillings (about 126 million U.S. dollars) for life-saving interventions in response to COVID-19 in those regions.

“However, we fear that without further support, many urban refugees will become extremely vulnerable to exploitation, risk falling into significant levels of debt and may be forced into desperate situations to survive, such as transactional sex or child labor,” UNHCR said.

UNHCR has been providing emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable in both Rwanda and Kenya and exploring options to expand programming.

In Uganda, UNHCR and WFP are introducing one-off cash assistance for some 80,000 urban refugees using mobile money to help cover rent, food and other key items, said the UN refugee agency.

However, it said these are only temporary measures and socio-economic conditions are expected to deteriorate further in the coming weeks and months.

UNHCR urged the international community to support its emergency response with further funding so that the UN agency can meet the rapidly rising needs before the situation reaches a breaking point.

It said urban refugees are facing job losses as businesses are forced to downsize or close due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Many were daily wage workers or worked in the informal economy and were already living hand-to-mouth before the pandemic struck,” said UNHCR.

UNHCR said many urban refugees are also living in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions and are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus, as in Kenya where thousands of refugees live in impoverished neighborhoods in Nairobi with little access to clean water, making it nearly impossible to practice regular hand washing.

UNHCR called on states to ensure that urban refugees additionally have access to social safety nets providing health insurance, food and cash assistance, which the international community should further support.

(XINHUA)

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UNHCR appeals for 79 mln USD to support refugees in Jordan

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The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Monday appealed for 79 million U.S. dollars to help refugees affected by the novel coronavirus crisis in Jordan.

UNHCR said in a statement obtaind by Xinhua that it has already been supporting Jordan’s national response plan by donating 1.2 million dollars to the Jordanian Ministry of Health to purchase essential medical equipment, delivering medicine to refugees’ homes, and maintaining the operation of essential services, including medical clinics and hospitals.

Amid coronavirus movement restrictions in Jordan, UNHCR has continued its work to protect refugees across the country.

Although registration and community centers have been closed to prevent the spread of the virus, remote counseling, legal aid and protection services for those who have experienced violence have continued, it added.

The UN agency also said around 18,000 vulnerable refugee families will receive a one-off emergency cash assistance since this week to cope with the economic impact of coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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Somalia, UNHCR airlift supplies to 8,100 flood victims in Somalia

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Somalia and the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday that they have airlifted vital humanitarian assistance to some 8,100 flood victims in three regional states in the past week.

The UNHCR said the emergency kits that include jerry cans, soap, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets and plastic sheets were airlifted to Baidoa, Bardheere and Qardho areas.

Johann Siffointe, UNHCR’s representative in Somalia, said they are witnessing multiple emergencies in Somalia, with a rise of COVID-19, Gu flash floods and riverine flooding.

“These emergencies must be understood as mutually compounding, requiring ongoing strong cooperation between the international community and governments at the national and sub-national levels,’’ Siffointe said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

According to the UN, the 2020 riverine flooding and flash floods caused by Gu season rains are giving every indication that they will adversely impact Somalia at similar levels to the Deyr rains of 2019 when more than 400,000 people were forcibly displaced.

The UN agency said the regions that have been hit hardest so far include Bari, Banadir, Hiraan and Middle Shabelle.

“The current multiple emergencies are exacerbating the living conditions of Somalia’s 2.6 million internally displaced persons who are among the country’s most vulnerable groups,’’ UNHCR said.

During the first phase of the airlift, the government provided a cargo plane to deliver essential items from the UNHCR warehouses in Mogadishu to Garowe (destined for Qardho) and Bardheere, while UNHCR airlifted the supplies to Baidoa.

The UNHCR said the second phase of the airlift will begin later this week and target 17,000 people in affected areas including Qardho, Bardheere, Beletweyn, and Berdale.

The UN response to the latest flooding came amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Somalia, which reached 835 on Tuesday.

The UN refugee agency said it is mobilising additional resources for non-food items and emergency shelter to respond to the ongoing needs. 

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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More than 3,000 migrants rescued off Libyan coast so far in 2020: UNHCR

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that more than 3,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued off the Libyan coast so far this year.

“As of 24 April, 3,078 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya,” said the UNHCR.

“UNHCR and its partner, the International Rescue Committee, continue to be present to provide medical assistance and core relief items at disembarkation points,” it added.

The UN refugee agency also said that there are currently 48,627 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya, adding that it requires more than 85 million U.S. dollars for its activities in 2020.

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the fall of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Despite international calls to close them, immigrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of immigrants either rescued from the sea or arrested by Libyan security forces.
(XINHUA)

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Forcibly displaced children need more support than ever as COVID-19 continues: UNICEF, UNHCR

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The UN Child Fund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have urged more support than ever to forcibly displaced children amid the spread of the novel cornavirus disease.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the needs of refugee children have become even more acute with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stating that millions of children around the world have been driven from their homes and across borders by conflict, violence and other forms of harm, including 12.7 million refugees and 1.1 million asylum seekers, the officials said meeting those needs is key to safeguarding both their wellbeing today and future potential.

“Displaced children are among those with the most limited access to prevention services, testing, treatment and other essential support. In addition, the pandemic and containment measures are likely to have negative consequences for their safety and education, which were precarious even before the outbreak of the disease.

Going to school was already a daily challenge or impossibility for many displaced children around the world.

Less than half of all school-aged refugee children were enrolled, with that dropping to 1 in 4 for secondary school. More displaced children are now likely to be out of school for a prolonged period and some might never return.

The pandemic risks turning back hard-won gains that had been made in expanding access to protection, healthcare and education for refugee children globally, according to the statement.

“We cannot let this happen. At a time when needs for support and attention multiply, the pandemic response must include clear commitments to the protection and wellbeing of forcibly displaced children,” it said.

UNHCR and UNICEF have expressed commitment to doing more and better in this crisis and beyond for refugee children, their families and communities, and those who host them.

“This commitment aligns with our new initiative, the Blueprint for joint action launched by our two organizations in January 2020 to expand refugee children’s access to protection, education, water and sanitation services in first group of priority countries,” they said.

The two officials said UNHCR and UNICEF collaborate in more than 40 countries around the world and are working together to see commitments made for children under the Global Compact for Refugees realized.

Expressing continued possible support to all refugee children during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, they have urged governments and the international community to join us in these efforts.

In Ethiopia, although no cases of COVID-19 have been reported amongst the refugee population and their host communities yet, UNHCR and UNICEF continue to strengthen efforts to prevent and limit the potential spread of the virus among the nearly 760,000 refugees in the country, said the statement.

Prioritized interventions for UNHCR include the provision of soap and adequate water supplies, procurement of medical supplies, enhancing community awareness in hygiene promotion, installation of hand-washing facilities at communal centers and refugee households, disinfection of food distribution centres and making sure that refugees practice social distancing during food distribution and other activities.

Temporary isolation sites have also been established in each camp to isolate suspected cases of COVID-19 until they are transferred to the government-designated isolation and treatment centres, it said.

UNICEF has also positioned six water trucks and a similar number of large capacity bladder tanks to provide water to refugees at Kule, Teirkidi and Ngunyyiel refugee camps which will benefit an estimated 180,000 people, according to the statement.
(XINHUA)

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Coronavirus – Africa (UNHCR): Staying and delivering for refugees amid COVID-19 crisis

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, detailed today a series of measures it is taking in its field operations to help respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prevent further spread. “I am deeply concerned at this unprecedented pandemic and its impact on refugees and their host communities. The COVID-19 crisis has already had significant consequences for our operations, forcing us to rapidly adjust the way we work. However, we are sparing no effort to help and protect refugees the best we can under these difficult circumstances,’’ said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Our top priority in the COVID-19 crisis is to ensure that the people we serve are included in response plans and are properly informed, while we supplement Governments’ preparedness and response efforts wherever needed,’’ he added. On 26 March, UNHCR called for $255 million as part of the wider UN appeal, to focus on priority countries that will require specific action. Although the number of reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection among refugees remains low, over 80 per cent of the world’s refugee population and nearly all the internally displaced people live in low to middle-income countries, many of which have weaker health, water and sanitation systems and need urgent support. Many refugees live in densely populated camps or in poorer urban areas with inadequate health infrastructure and WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – facilities. Prevention in these locations is of paramount importance, noted Grandi. Measures UNHCR is taking include:

  • Reinforcing the health and WASH systems and services, including by distributing soap and increasing access to water.
  • Supporting governments with infection prevention and health-care response, including through the provision of medical equipment and supplies.
  • Distributing shelter material and core relief items.
  • Offering guidance and fact-based information on prevention measures.
  • Expanding cash assistance to help mitigate the negative socio-economic impact of COVID-19.
  • Enhancing monitoring and interventions to ensure the rights of forcibly displaced people are respected.

In Jordan, temperature screening is conducted at the entrance of the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps. Awareness campaigns are ongoing. Electricity provision has been enhanced and the supermarkets are running extended hours to facilitate social distancing.

Handwashing and temperature screening facilities have also been put in place at points of entry as well as transit centres, reception centres and health facilities in camps/settlements in Ethiopia and Uganda.

In Sudan, UNHCR has delivered soap to over 260,000 refugees, internally displaced people (IDP) and members of the host communities. UNHCR, other UN agencies and the Ministry of Health are running a massive awareness campaign in several languages. Some 15,000 text messages have been sent to urban refugees living in Khartoum, sharing health awareness and prevention advice.

Prevention measures have also been put in place in refugee camps and IDP sites in the DRC and Burkina Faso. This includes the installation of hand-washing stations, the distribution of soap and cleaning products, mass awareness-raising using posters, leaflets, radio spots and community networks.

Over 100 tonnes of emergency and medical aid were recently airlifted to Chad and Iran. “We will continue to expand our critical interventions on the ground.

But to do this, we need timely and unearmarked financial support now, including to ongoing humanitarian operations. Coordinated international support is in our common interest and absolutely critical,” concluded Grandi.

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Coronavirus – Democratic Republic of the Congo: UNHCR Update on COVID-19 Response

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As of 1 April, there were 123 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the DRC, with 11 reported deaths. No new cases of Ebola have been recorded since 17 February; should this trend continue until 12 April, the epidemic can be declared over.

On 25 March, UNHCR declared a global L2 emergency for the COVID-19 situation.

Across DRC, UNHCR is putting in place prevention measures in refugee camps, IDP sites and transit centres. This includes temperature screening and handwashing at entry points, the installation of handwashing stations in public places (markets, health centers etc.), distributions of soap and cleaning products, and awareness-raising on COVID-19 using posters, leaflets, radio spots, and community networks.

UNHCR continues its protection and assistance activities to the extent possible maintaining physical distancing.

Operational context

On 24 March, President Tshisekedi declared a countrywide state of emergency, and shut down national borders to stop the spread of COVID-19. While most COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Kinshasa, a first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Ituri Province on 27 March according to WHO, while two additional cases were confirmed in South Kivu Province on 29 March. As part of the measures taken to prevent further spreading of COVID-19, the DRC Government has banned gathering of more than 20 persons, and ordered the closure of schools, universities, churches, restaurants and other public spaces for four weeks, from 19 March. As most cases have been identified in Kinshasa, the DRC Government has also banned all travel of persons from Kinshasa to the provinces and vice versa, and only is allowing cargo shipments.

Download Report: https://bit.ly/2ytdZt9

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Coronavirus – UNHCR Niger: Staying and delivering for refugees amid the COVID-19 crisis

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There are confirmed COVID-19 cases in Niger. Refugees are at the same risk of contracting and transmitting the COVID-19 virus as local populations. To date and based on available evidence, there have been no reports of COVID-19 infections among refugees and asylum-seekers in Niger. However, there is no reason to believe that this won’t change.

UNHCR’s top priority in the COVID-19 crisis is to ensure that people we serve are included in the Government’s response plan and are properly informed, while we supplement Government’s preparedness and capacities to tackle the crisis.

Therefore, UNHCR has taken a series of measures in its field operations to help respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prevent further spread, thus contributing to the overall national needs for a total amount of 2,077,027 USD.

First of all, coordination is key. All UNHCR field representations are actively taking place in regional and subregional committees set up by the Government. They coordinate with other regional stakeholders, divide intervention areas and share information on capacities.

Secondly, prevention is paramount to get the virus under control. In all regions where UNHCR is operating, UNHCR has reinforced washing facilities and has distributed soap.

Refugees are actively engaged as actors of prevention. Based on existing practices in Sayam Forage camp (Diffa region) and the transit center for persons evacuated from Libya in Hamdallaye, persons under UNHCR’s mandate are supported to scale up the local production of antiseptic soap, liquid soap and bleach in refugee hosting areas throughout the country (Niamey, Ouallam, Abala, Agadez, Maradi) to contribute to the prevention of COVID-19. Next to improving the hygienic and health conditions in the camp, this activity generates an income for refugee households and stimulates the local economy. This will contribute to mitigate the negative socio-economic impact of COVID-19.

Furthermore, UNHCR offers guidance and fact-based information on prevention measures through printing and distributing the standard information leaflets of WHO and using educational videos. UNHCR has engaged in mass communication campaigns through the use of public criers, theatre, communication caravans, …

For an initial period of three months, UNHCR will support the government through the provision of medical equipment and supplies, as well as additional staffing. Regarding staffing, the following profiles will reinforce the health teams for a period of 3 months: 4 medical doctors (Ayerou, Intikane, Sayam Forage, Hamdallaye), 11 additional WASH staff (Tillabery, Maradi, Diffa, Hamdallaye, Agadez), 12 psychosocial support staff (Tillabery, Maradi, Diffa, Hamdallaye) and 20 additional community sensitization agents (Tahoua). Moreover, UNHCR will organize 2 trainings of health staff in all regions with a total number of 50 persons per training.

In all regions, protection, hygiene and disinfectant equipment is purchased and distributed: 3540 hydroalcolic gels of 500 ml, 605 hand washing basins, 1452 units of liquified chlorine, 19990 soap boxes with 30 tablets each, 3540 liquid soap units of 500 ml each, 3540 bleach units, 750 emergency kits for infections, 1400 boxes with 50 protection masks each, 50 megaphones, 140 laser thermometers, 1370 boxes with each 100 protective gloves, 120 pedal bins and 6200 plastic bags.

As authorities have a limited capacity to set up isolation cells to separate potential COVID-19 cases, UNHCR has undertaken a needs analysis with the Regional Directorates of Health and will put at their disposal 120 Refugee Housing Units with A/C and 240 beds throughout the country, hence a capacity of 2 patients per RHU. If requested by the Government, UNHCR will examine the possibility to construct additional health infrastructure.

Finally, UNHCR continues to enhance monitoring and interventions to ensure the rights of forcibly displaced people are respected. The Government has decided to close all international airports and border entry points as of 19 March 2020 for a renewable period of two months. UNHCR continues to plea for access of refugees and asylum seekers coming from conflict affected neighboring countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Chad and Burkina Faso and continues to give assistance to those expelled from Algeria and Libya, in close cooperation with IOM.

Download Report: https://bit.ly/2w8gPTC

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UNHCR airlifts emergency aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad

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This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, airlifted 93.5 tonnes of emergency aid for Sudanese refugees in Chad from its Global Stockpile in Dubai on Thursday (March 19). The UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777 landed in the Chadian capital yesterday evening.

Clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan's West Darfur State, since December 2019 have forced more than 16,000 people, mostly women and children, to flee violence and cross into neighbouring Chad.

They arrived exhausted, traumatized and often with signs of malnutrition. Most are staying in the open or under makeshift shelters, with little protection from the elements. Shelter, food, water and basic health care are urgently needed, as refugees are being relocated further away from the border, for safety and protection reasons.

This latest influx brings the total number of Sudanese refugees in Chad to 360,000.

Yesterday's airlift included 10,000 blankets, 12,000 jerry cans, 12,000 mosquito nets, 10,640 plastic buckets, 6,000 kitchen sets, 4,000 sleeping mats, 2,000 solar lamps and 2,000 plastic sheets, in addition to one ambulance vehicle. These emergency relief items are expected to respond to the humanitarian needs of some 10,000 refugees.

The humanitarian charter flight, worth US$308,000, was organized by UPS through their team in Dubai and the transportation costs were fully covered by UPS.

UNHCR is working around the clock to help people forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution. This shipment will ensure thousands of vulnerable Sudanese families receive much-needed aid.

We are grateful to UPS for its timely donation covering the transportation expenses, and the International Humanitarian City, global hub for humanitarian emergency preparedness and response in Dubai, for its continuous support.

The UNHCR global stockpile in Dubai was established in 2006 and is our largest stockpile in the world. This facility has stocks of family tents and other shelter materials as well as blankets, kitchen sets and other relief items for more than 250,000 people.

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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