UNHCR Regional update - Africa
Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme
Update on UNHCR’s operations in Africa
A. Situational analysis including new developments
In 2017, the Africa region continued to host the largest number of persons of concern to UNHCR. At the end of 2016, the number of displaced and stateless persons was estimated at almost 19.6 million. New displacement was largely due to conflict in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an upsurge of violence in the Central African Republic as well as food insecurity combined with conflict in Somalia and South Sudan.
Food insecurity remained a concern throughout the region, particularly in the Horn of Africa where severe drought is projected to continue into early 2018. A famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February 2017, and parts of northern Nigeria and Somalia were at risk of famine. By the end of December 2016, approximately 3.5 million out of 5.1 million refugees across 20 countries in Africa were receiving food assistance from the World Food Programme. As of June 2017, several countries in the region faced cuts to food assistance, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania. More countries are expected to be affected by cuts if additional resources are not made available.
Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region
Reports of human rights violations continued in Burundi, and over 418,000 Burundians remained in exile in neighbouring countries. While some spontaneous returns were reported, the need to maintain asylum space for Burundian asylum-seekersremained vital. Only 15 per cent ($37 million) of the total needs ($248 million) of Burundian refugees in the region are currently being met.
UNHCR remained concerned over the resurgence of violence in parts of the Central African Republic and the targeting of civilians and humanitarian workers. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) increased by more than 25 per cent to over half a million. In the neighbouring countries, there were almost half a million refugees from the Central African Republic. By the end of July 2017, another 70,000 new refugees had fled to Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, conflict in the Kasai region had displaced some 1.4 million people internally between March and September 2017, bringing the number of IDPs to 3.8 million. People from the Kasai region mainly fled to Angola, where 33,000 were registered as refugees. Influxes into Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania also continued, and the overall number of Congolese refugees in the region reached almost 620,000.
East and Horn of Africa
The security situation in South Sudan continued to deteriorate, further exacerbated by the lack of food. This led the South Sudan emergency to become the fastest growing displacement crisis in the world. A third of South Sudan’s population of 12 million was displaced, while more than half of the population was affected by the crisis. Almost 2 million South Sudanese lived in host countries as refugees or asylum-seekers and another 2 million were internally displaced. Over the past year alone, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese arrived in Uganda every day. In addition to the million hosted in Uganda, more than a million South Sudanese were hosted in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.
In spite of encouraging political developments, the security situation in Somalia remained volatile. Together with food insecurity, this triggered further population displacement, bringing the total number of displaced to some 1.5 million IDPs and 900,000 refugees.
A complex humanitarian emergency continued to affect some 7.1 million people across the Lake Chad Basin, including 2.3 million refugees, IDPs and returnees. UNHCR voiced concern about forced and self-organized returns to Nigeria, noting that the minimum conditions of safety and dignity were not yet met.