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Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa - Report of the Secretary-General (A/72/354) [EN/AR]



The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/173. It updates information contained in the report of the Secretary-General submitted to the Assembly at its seventy-first session (A/71/354) and covers the period from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017. The report has been coordinated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and includes information provided by the International Organization for Migration, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization. It also includes information drawn from reports by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

I. Introduction

1. Africa was affected by multiple crises over the past year, which saw the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution grow steadily. Instability and insecurity in Burundi, the Central African Republic and South Sudan and parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Somalia triggered significant population movements within and across borders. Numerous situations remained unresolved across the continent, with millions of refugees and internally displaced persons lingering in protracted situations.

2. By the end of 2016, the number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa had risen from 4.4 million to more than 5 million, and from 10.7 million to more than 11 million, respectively. In addition, the region hosted 450,000 asylum seekers and an estimated 1 million stateless persons. The majority of refugees received protection in neighbouring countries, many of which faced increasing economic hardship. Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Sudan and Uganda were the African countries hosting the largest number of refugees, with the refugee population in Uganda nearly doubling during the period.

3. Food insecurity and the risk of famine, particularly in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, called for major relief efforts. In parts of northern Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan, some 20 million people were affected by a combination of prolonged conflict and drought that fuelled food insecurity. As a result of funding shortfalls, nine refugee operations in Africa experienced cuts to food rations, with negative consequences for approximately 2 million refugees.

4. Mixed movements of refugees and migrants remained a challenge in many regions of Africa, including across the Sahara towards North Africa, from the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa towards Southern Africa, and across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, and presented serious protection risks and difficulties for receiving countries.

5. Against this complex background, Africa is expected to benefit from a number of new initiatives to galvanize national, regional and international responses from Member States, regional organizations, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and development actors. This includes the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit (such as the Grand Bargain) in May 2016; the high-level summit of the General Assembly to address large movements of refugees and migrants in September 2016, which led to the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants; and the leaders’ summit on refugees that followed; as well as a number of important regional endeavours. Those initiatives are expected to lead to a more predictable and comprehensive approach, as well as additional resourcing, to address the humanitarian needs and foster solutions to displacement.