HEADLINES: Refugees

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Thousands of people trying to return to South Sudan from Sudan have been stranded for months at the Kosti way station and are running out of “means of support,” a United Nations official said Tuesday. The concern for their plight comes amid reports of military attacks along Sudan’s hotly contested border with South Sudan. Between 12,000 and 15,000 South Sudanese are at the Kosti way station, “many of whom have been waiting with their entire house holdings for months for transport to South Sudan,” a U.N. statement said. South Sudan split from Sudan last year as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war in Africa’s largest nation. The war left 2 million people dead and ended with the peace agreement that included an independence referendum for the south. [CNN]

The number of Congolese nationals fleeing to Rwanda escaping violence, following resumption of clashes between DR Congo army and militia groups has surged to an estimated 1100, officials said yesterday. According to the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDMAR), Marcel Gatsinzi, the number has in one day increased from about 300 on Sunday to over 1050. Presently, there are thousands of Congolese refugees in Rwanda in three camps of Gihembe in Gicumbi District, Kiziba Camp in Karongi District, and Nyabiheke camp in Gatsibo. They total over 55, 000 and have been living in these camps for over 15 years. Reports indicate that Congolese citizens are fleeing possible reprisal attacks by terrorist groups; the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel outfit. [AllAfrica]

A conference on Afghan refugees opened with a call by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres for the international community to throw its full weight behind a new “solutions strategy” drawn up between Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and UNHCR. The strategy, which is being presented at the two-day conference for endorsement, aims both at preserving asylum space for Afghan refugees in neighboring countries over the coming three years and beyond, and at supporting sustainable reintegration for those Afghans who return home. Afghan refugees constitute the largest and longest-standing refugee situation in UNHCR’s history. Despite the return of some 5.7 million Afghans to their homeland since 2002, there are still around 2 million Afghans in Pakistan and close to 1 million in Iran. And in recent years, return rates have slowed. In 2011, about 70,000 Afghan refugees returned home. [UNHCR]

 

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