UNHCR Ends Refugee Status for Angolans

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says Angolans and Liberian refugees who live abroad are no longer regarded as refugees.

UNHCR spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, points out that, their refugee status came to an end on 30 June 2012 because both countries ‘have enjoyed many years of peace and stability after bitter civil wars’.

Edwards says that the agency is working with the governments of origin and of asylum to find solutions for refugees who wish either to return home or to remain in their host countries.

Gay Asylum Discriminated in SA – PASSOP

A study by the People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP), has found that gay African asylum seekers struggle to find work and battle homophobic discrimination in South Africa, the continent's only nation to allow same-sex marriage.

Interviews with 25 Africans by PASSOP found that 90 percent were jobless and that nearly all felt unsafe because of their sexuality or gender identity despite having fled their own countries to escape being targeted.

UNHCR Warns of Refugee Crisis

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned that 2011 saw the largest number of new refugees in the last decade and that the trend is set to continue.

This is according to Antonio Guterres, high commissioner for refugees at the UN, speaking during the launch of the UNHCR's flagship report on the state of the world's refugees.

With this year's theme, 'In Search of Solidarity', the report explores key challenges that are fueling a refugee epidemic and making it harder for humanitarian agencies to reach those desperately in need.

Pillay Asked to Continue as Human Rights Chief

The United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has asked former South African judge, Navi Pillay, to stay on as high commissioner for human rights for another two years.

In a press statement, Ban’s office says that the UN secretary general has proposed that the 193-member UN General Assembly vote for the extension of the former judge, whose four-year term expires at the end of this year.

Zille Slammed Over ‘Refugee Comment’

Former Rivonia trialist, Dennis Goldberg, has added to criticism against Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, on her comments labelling certain learners as refugees.

Speaking at the Wynberg High School during the 50 year anniversary celebrations of Umkhonto Wesizwe, Goldberg points out that, “The apartheid problem of coloured people who are saying why do these blacks come into our country.”

He is questioning the reason why Zille talks about economic refugees of people who were excluded by influx controls and pass laws, who are now free to share in their country.

UN Concerned Over the Displaced in DRC

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that about 3 000 people have been displaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo's north-east amid renewed rebel attacks since the start of the year.

UNHCR spokesperson, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, points out that the agency is very concerned at the recent displacement of several thousand people as a result of renewed attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Lejeune-Kaba states that abducted civilians are often used as porters, while the LRA forces young women into sexual slavery.

Refugee Children Denied ‘Right to Learn’

Refugee children in South Africa asked for identity documents and permits they don’t have are denied enrolment in public schools, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The report, which focuses on refugee education in country, highlights how many refugee children in the country are facing limited access to education, particularly at secondary levels and for those living in urban areas.

The report also highlights how it seems to be more difficult in urban areas than in rural areas close to refugee camps.

International: Women, Climate Change and Migration

The dramatic changes to weather patterns as a result of climate change will have dire consequences on agriculture, the major source of food and income for Africa’s small scale farmers, the majority of whom are women.

Millions of people will be forced to migrate as they seek better living environments to sustain themselves and their families as the land becomes unproductive. Not enough is being done in national adaptation strategies to acknowledge the different gender dimensions of climate change and migration.

Closure of Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office

We are shocked, distressed and disappointed over the Department of Home Affairs’ abrupt and unexpected decision to permanently close the (Port Elizabeth) Refugee Reception Office at the end of November. As organisations intimately involved in the protection and support of refugees and asylum seekers, we find it completely unacceptable that all stakeholders were not consulted. We were only informed late last week that no new applications for asylum would be accepted after Friday, 21 October 2011.


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