Following the incredible feeling of African unity experienced during the World Cup, most of us were alarmed by rumours of the targeting of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in some pockets of our communities post the final. It stood in stark contrast to the Pan-African spirit we demonstrated when we collectively switched our loyalty to Ghana after Bafana-Bafana was eliminated from the tournament.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Saudi Arabia to halt deportations of Somali refugees and asylum-seekers to the conflict-stricken capital, Mogadishu.
Spokesperson for the UNHCR, Melissa Fleming points out that Saudi Arabia has already deported more than 1 000 refugees to Mogadishu, where dozens of civilians were killed in escalating clashes this week.
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) has urged the government to strengthen its capacity to detect threats of xenophobic violence and to provide a centralised national contact telephone number for reporting threats or outbreaks of such attacks.
CoRMSA advocacy officer, Duncan Breen, points out that all available intelligence sources need to be used to deal with the ‘credible’ threat against foreign nationals.
South Africa is the destination of choice for many refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their countries, despite fear that a wave of xenophobic violence is set to grip the country after the FIFA World Cup.
A report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the country received the highest number of applications by asylum seekers worldwide in 2009.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says a three-year project, costing R45m, to help ensure food security in poverty-stricken Guinea is showing positive results.
The department’s deputy director-general for the Africa region, Mxolisi Nkosi, says that the project is to demonstrate the country’s commitment to contribute significantly to food security and skills development in Guinea.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is seeking discussions with Libya to allow it to resume its work in the country, two days after the agency announced that it had been asked to leave.
The organisation’s spokesperson, Melissa Fleming, says that, "UNHCR is confirming its awareness of the concerns of the Libyan Government and is seeking an open, constructive dialogue with Libya to dispel any misunderstandings and hopefully to reach consensus on resuming its work."
United Nations officials visiting a refugee camp in northern Zambia have issued a call for refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to return home.
Zambia representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), James Lynch, states that, "This visit signals the importance the (Zambian) government and donor countries assign to finding durable solutions for refugees, in this case voluntary repatriation to DRC."
A group of refugees facing eviction from Blue Waters Camp, a place of safety outside Cape Town, has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to intervene.
The 187 refugees, some with children, have lived in the camp for more than two years. The group has refused reintegration incentives and instead had say if the UNHCR does not protect them, they would rather live on the city’s streets.
Kasifa Kakai, a former primary school teacher who fled her home country of Uganda in 1998 due to political problems, says funding for refugees who want to study at higher education institutions in South Africa needs attention.
Kakai graduated from the University of the Western Cape with an honours degree in development studies and started a NGO, ‘Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students (UTRS)’.
Zimbabwean migration blurs the line between refugees and economic migrants, according to a report by the Forced Migration Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The study looks into the official responses to Zimbabwean migration in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and found that they failed to take this distinction into account.