UNHCR Global Appeal 2011 Update

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 31 Dec 2011 View Original

Working environment

The context

Djibouti is a relatively stable country in the East and Horn of Africa, where it plays a pivotal role in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Somalia crisis. The country is the hub for naval forces combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. It is host to more than 14,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia, and is also a transit point for mixed migratory flows towards the Middle East and beyond.

Following the deadly suicide bombing in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2010, for which a Somali Islamist movement claimed responsibility, Djibouti has imposed security restrictions on Somalis entering its territory. All Somali men aged between 18 and 50 are currently denied entry into Djibouti. The Government is conscious that developments in neighbouring Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia could have ramifications in Djibouti, which has a sizeable population of ethnic Somali nationals.

Djibouti is also affected by climate change. Erratic rainfall has led to a continuing drought, causing alarming food shortages and high levels of malnutrition.

The needs

The ongoing arrival of refugees, almost all of whom must live in the Ali Addeh camp, has increased needs in all sectors in the overcrowded camp. Access to safe drinking water has remained a concern for UNHCR, as poor water supplies have resulted in sanitation problems and frequent outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting, particularly among children. The health infrastructure and services in the camp require upgrading, and more medical equipment is needed. The educational sector needs teachers, teaching materials and facilities so that secondary education and vocational training can be provided. Shelters in the camp are dilapidated and require rehabilitation.

With so many Somali men denied entry into Djibouti, there is an urgent need to promote a more favourable protection environment. In addition, providing documentation to asylum-seekers and refugees, and reinforcing the refugee status determination (RSD) process, remain critical tasks. While most of the refugees from Somalia are granted refugee status on a prima facie basis, those from Eritrea, Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries must undergo RSD procedures. Many cases remain pending due to the fact that the National Eligibility Commission (NEC) is not operational. This situation has left thousands of asylum-seekers without identity documents and at risk of refoulement.