Dollo Ado

The UNHCR compound in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, less than four kilometers from the troubled & dangerous border of Somalia. In addition to their work on behalf of refugees, UNHCR provides flights for NGO personnel working in the area, and is the primary means of communication to the outside world via their wifi network.

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UN: Countries must do more to resettle refugees

With more than 800,000 refugees estimated to require resettlement in third countries in the coming years, the United Nations refugee agency is calling for countries to allow in more people – who cannot return to their home nations – to begin new lives.

At present, only a small number of countries are participating in the resettlement schemes of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the number of available resettlement places has not kept pace with increased submissions to the agency.

For this year, UNHCR predicts that 747,000 people worldwide need to move to third countries, while that number surpasses 800,000 – a record high – for 2011.

However, the annual quotas set by nations offering to resettle refugees have remained unchanged at 80,000 slots. Read the rest of this entry »

Ecuador registers Colombian refugees

Ecuador has started to register refugees from Colombia, a process that should allow many who have fled the conflict in Colombia to stay safely in Ecuador, BBC News reports.

Ecuador has the highest number of refugees in Latin America – a consequence of the ongoing conflict in Colombia between guerrillas, paramilitary squads and the state.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Colombia has one of the world’s largest internally displaced populations, estimated at more than three million.

Another 500,000 to 750,000 have fled to other countries, according to the Refugee Council USA, a U.S.-based coalition of NGOs. (Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a member of RCUSA)

Ecuador is a preferred destination both for its geographical proximity to the troubled southern Colombian regions of Putumayo and Narino and for the relatively easy migration process.

Read the full story here.

Pope appeals for Sri Lanka's displaced; UN says people returning to their homes

At the end of yesterday’s general audience, Pope Benedict XVI remarked upon the current situation in Sri Lanka, six months after the end of the conflict that bloodied the country.

“We note with satisfaction the efforts being made by the authorities over recent weeks, to facilitate the return home of people displaced by the war. I strongly encourage an acceleration in this process and ask all citizens to work towards rapid pacification in full respect for human rights, and towards a just political solution to the challenges still facing the country.

“I trust, moreover, that the international community will strive to meet the humanitarian and economic needs of Sri Lanka, and I raise my prayers to Our Lady of Madhu, that she may continue to watch over that beloved land.”

Meanwhile, about 90,000 Sri Lankans displaced by the conflict between Government forces and Tamil separatists have returned to their homes in the past three months, and the pace of returns has begun to accelerate, the United Nations refugee agency reported.
Read the rest of this entry »

UNHCR concerned about safety of displaced people in Sri Lanka

The United Nations refugee agency said it is deeply concerned about the safety of the more than 250,000 displaced people in northern Sri Lanka after reports of security incidents inside the camps where they are taking shelter.

The most recent incident took place on September 26, in the Menik Farm camp, in the district of Vavuniya, when security forces reportedly attempted to stop a group of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from moving between two zones of the camp.

This angered the IDPs who subsequently attacked the sentries, according to a news release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Security personnel then reportedly opened fire to disperse the mob. Several people are said to have been injured, including a child who was hit by a stray bullet and is now paralyzed. There are also reports of several people being detained following the disturbance.
Read the rest of this entry »

Video: Combined impact of negative forces poses challenge to refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres kicks off a meeting of the UNHCR executive committee by highlighting upcoming challenges.

The combined impact of the economic downturn with the global trends of climate change, urbanization, increased population and food insecurity on human displacement were on the agenda of the annual meeting of UNHCR’s governing Executive Committee.

Police close French migrant camp, detain refugees

French authorities have moved in to flatten a camp used by asylum-seekers and refugees in the port city of Calais. The New York Times reports today that they

dismantled and bulldozed a camp for undocumented migrants outside this English Channel port on Tuesday, rounding up almost 300 Afghans, Pakistanis and others who gathered there for years in the hope of making clandestine journeys across the 22 miles of water to Britain.

The BBC has video here.

UNHCR visited the camp a few weeks ago, and published a set of photographs here.