South Africa + 13 more

UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update - Southern Africa



Southern Africa currently hosts more than half a million people of concern. At the end of 2013, they included approximately 136,000 refugees, 278,000 asylum-seekers and nearly 1,700 returnees.

Elections held during 2014 in Madagascar, Malawi, and South Africa were peaceful. In Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique, elections are expected during the remaining months of 2014. In Mozambique, discord between the main political parties caused some population movement, but a peace agreement was signed in August 2014. Reports of civil unrest related to the economic crisis continue in Malawi, South Africa and Swaziland.

Governments in the region are concerned about national security, trafcking, human smuggling and abuse of the asylum system, resulting in stricter border controls. National asylum systems in these countries are severely stretched and identifying people in need of international protection is difcult. While nearly all subregional countries are party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, its 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 OAU Convention, most have signed with reservations regarding freedom of movement and employment access. Nearly all the countries, with the exception of Angola and South Africa, have encampment policies that restrict freedom of movement and limit possibilities for self-reliance.

UNHCR supports voluntary repatriation, particularly to Burundi and Rwanda, when conditions are conducive for return. Most governments are also reluctant to offer local integration opportunities, though Namibia, South Africa and Zambia have agreed to locally integrate former Angolan refugees who meet specic criteria. This process is expected to be complete by the end of 2016. Resettlement continues to be an important and effective durable solution in the subregion.

Attacks on foreign-owned businesses continue in South Africa, where most refugees live in urban areas. Similarly public and ofcial support for refugees has deteriorated in other countries such as Angola, Botswana and Malawi.

People at risk of statelessness in the subregion remain a concern. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have signed the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness has been signed only by Lesotho, ozambique and Swaziland. People at risk of statelessness are found mainly in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, but exact numbers are unknown.