- The United Nations has today pledged full support to help Africa address the needs of some 14 million refugees and internally displaced people, driven from their homes by fighting and prevent the conflicts that caused their plight.
“In seeking to bring peace and prevent conflict across the continent, the African Union (AU) is an indispensable partner of the United Nations,” Secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said in a message to an AU special summit on refugees, returnees and the displaced delivered by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
“Together, we must work harder to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law, and to implement conflict prevention and resolution measures, particularly in the face of politically motivated violence,” he said.
Although the number of refugees in Africa today is about one fifth its peak in the mid-1990s, there are nearly 12 million people forcibly displaced by conflict within their own countries in Africa, nearly five times the number of refugees, and when persons displaced by causes other than conflict are included, the figure is even higher, Mr Ban declared.
“Everyone displaced by conflict or natural disaster is an individual - a person, likely a woman or child, who may be undernourished and living in fear of recruitment or rape, a person whose potential remains unrealized, with dreams unfulfilled and contributions forgone,” he stressed. “You have come together to forge a better future.
“I commend the summit's emphasis on addressing root causes and preventing the conflicts that give rise to displacement. At the same time, let us remember that disasters, particularly slow-onset disasters such as drought, are also a major cause of internal displacement,” he added, calling for investment in disaster risk reduction.
Likewise, it is vital that December’s meeting in Copenhagen on global warming provide for adaptation measures addressing the heightened vulnerability of Africans to climate-change-induced displacement, he said.
He underlined the importance not only of preventing displacement but also of protecting those already displaced. “Millions remain in protracted displacement for years, and even generations, after they have fled their homes,” he said. “Finding durable solutions for them is one of the greatest challenges in post-crisis situations.
“Reconstruction and development, and the reestablishment of law and order, are critical for the displaced to successfully reintegrate with safety and dignity.”
The African Union has made a commitment to address the issue on the African continent by putting forward the first-ever international treaty for the protection and assistance of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons at its summit in Uganda.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.