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Angola accommodates over 52, 000 refugees

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Luanda - Angola is home to 52.671 foreigners of various nationalities, who benefit from protection and social assistance as well as have access to birth registration of the children born into national territory.

The statistics were released Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, by the State Secretary for Interior, José Bamóquina Zau.

The official said that out of this figure, 30,139 are asylum seekers; 16,183 refugees; 6,349 prima facie refugees from the Kasai Region in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This number, which includes 1,350 men, 1,266 women and 3.733 children, represents refugees sheltered in Lôvua, Angola’s eastern Luanda Norte province, and benefiting from the refugee's foreign passport, since 2000.

A practice by which all persons forming part of a large-scale influx are regarded as refugees on a prima facie basis, ensuring that protection and assistance needs are met without prior individual determination of refugee status defined by 1951 Geneva Convention.

Speaking at 71st session of the executive committee of the United Nation High commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland, the Secretary of State for the Interior stressed that 2020 sees a decrease by 3,073 of those who benefit from the international protection in Angolan soil.

José Bamóquina Zau said the figure represents refugees from DRC, who decided to return to their country based on the tripartite agreement signed by Angola and DRC with the UNHCR.

Of those registered, 2,912 returned on an organised basis and 161 others did so voluntarily.

Angola praises the session at a time the States still experience the burden of various economic consequences due to the pandemic Covid-19 at all levels.

More than ever, Covid-19 requires global solidarity and multilateral cooperation, stressed the Angolan representative.

On the occasion, the Angolan representative said that under the National Emergency Plan to control and combat the Covid-19, the Angola, in cooperation with closer cooperation with specialized agencies of the United Nations? (UNICEF, UNHCR and UNFPA) is putting into practice several measures in favour of the refugees.

He also stressed the country’s decision to suspend (since February 2020) the plan to implement the clause on end of refugee status in favour of some foreign communities.

All the initiatives on return, he said, have been launched in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and with the support of the Angolan State aimed at tackling the challenges posed by the situation of refugees and, essentially, to improve the conditions of this social group.

The official named the plenary sessions of the National Council for Refugees to approve the guidance documents for the implementation of the clause terminating refugee status in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda, scheduled to start by the end of October 2020.

The state secretary also mentioned the biometric updating of the database of all refugees and asylum seekers, with a view to renewing and issuing new identity documents (under the terms of Law 10/15 of 16 June on the right to asylum and the status refugees).

He underlined that the process of voluntary and organised repatriation of refugees from the DRC, who are still in the sheltering Center of Lôvua, and the local integration of those who expressed the desire to remain in Angola, are being monitored.