A newly released report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has revealed that more than 100-million people have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict, climate change and persecution.
As Al Jazeera succinctly illustrated it: “To put that in context, if the number of forcibly displaced people was a country, it would be the 15th-most populated country in the world.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found that in 2021 the world’s 10 most neglected displacement crises were all in Africa.
Each year, the NRC publishes this list to focus on the plight of people whose suffering rarely gets attention: “The neglected displacement crises list for 2021 analyses 41 displacement crises based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and lack of international political and diplomatic initiatives.”
Top of the list was the Democratic Republic of Congo, which the NRC describes as “the textbook example of a neglected crisis”. The vast central African country, which is rich in minerals, has been plagued by conflicts for decades.
In April fresh conflict broke out in its eastern region and thousands of people fled to neighbouring Uganda’s Kisoro district through the Bunagana border.
ForAfrika is not active in DRC, but we already work in refugee camps in Uganda and were quick to move down to Kisoro where we set about assisting the UNHCR and the Ugandan government in welcoming new arrivals – 33,225 to date – find sanctuary, food and water.
We set up a public address system and held meetings to inform people of available services and to promote peaceful coexistence between asylum seekers and the host community. We have set up a tent for focus group discussions to ensure meaningful participation of refugees in finding solutions to their challenges. Furthermore, ForAfrika, has facilitated meetings with all stakeholders, including security groups from Uganda and DRC, about the situation on the ground.
ForAfrika has deployed volunteers to assist with the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene activities to ensure the camps remain clean and has supported our health partners with Covid-19 and nutrition screening as well as deworming. We have also assisted with the provision of lighting for the safety and security of this vulnerable group.
As we were reminded by World Refugee Day on 20 June — every person has a right to seek safety, whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they are forced to flee conflict or persecution.
As Africans working towards an Africa that thrives, we won’t stop until everyone on our continent has the resources they need.