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Cablegate: Unhcr-Mozambique Focuses On Local Integration,

VZCZCXRO1692
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0381 1210859
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300859Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8842
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0154

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000381

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF SMIG MZ
SUBJECT: UNHCR-MOZAMBIQUE FOCUSES ON LOCAL INTEGRATION,
SELF RELIANCE

1. (U) Poloff met recently with head of the UNHCR mission in
Mozambique, Victoria Akyeampong to discuss the
first-of-its-kind UNHCR pilot transition program for
operations at the Maratane refugee camp in Nampula Province.
Akyeampong described the 2006-2008 UNHCR country plan which
focuses on providing refugees at Maratane with resources to
become self reliant and more integrated into society. The
GRM is working closely with UNHCR on the transition, which is
expected to be completed by 2010. If successful, the program
could serve as a model for future UNHCR operations in other
countries with significant refugee populations.

2. (U) For the past several years, the refugee population at
the Maratane camp has held steady with approximately 4,000
refugees, mostly from the Great Lakes countries of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Rwanda.
Despite the UNHCR's best efforts to return refugees to their
home countries or find third countries for them to live in,
applications for refugee status, particularly from the DRC,
stymied the reduction in the number of refugees living at the
camp. The 2006-2008 UNHCR-GRM pilot agreement (which
recently was extended to 2010) would check the continuing
influx of refugees by cutting financial and food donations
and instead focus on self-sustainability programs, like
growing fruits and vegetables and animal husbandry. As part
of the program, UNHCR established micro credit loan programs
for the purchasing of resources.

3. (U) According to Akyeampong, the GRM is playing a vital
role in the transition, particularly in the area of local
integration. The GRM is coordinating its role through
several ministries: for example, the Ministry of Education
will ensure that refugee students are able to attend
accredited local schools, and the Ministry of Health will
ensure that refugees are able to receive health care at local
medical facilities. Financial assistance to refugees,
previously handled through the UNHCR will now be provided
through the GRM Refugee Institute (INAR) as a means of
building INAR's capacity. In addition, the assistance
provided to refugees will no longer be provided "to the
camp," but will be part of an overall assistance program to
the Mozambican population living in the area around the camp.
Once refugees have attained self-sustainability, they will
have freedom of movement, may acquire property, and decide
where in Mozambique they wish to live (with the exception of
Maputo).

4. (U) Akyeampong related that the plan is already well
underway and that she expects to see a significant reduction
in the number of refugees in Mozambique within six months.
Due to better investigating and reporting capacities
regarding the living conditions in the home countries of the
refugees, many applications for refugee status are now being
rejected. Another mechanism that should greatly lower the
number of applications received involves the reduction in
food rations by 50 percent in July, and by January 1, 2009
only vulnerable refugees and their families will receive such
donations.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Akyeampong was highly optimistic that the
transition was going smoothly and ultimately would be
successful. It is notable that the UNHCR recognized that
fraudulent applications by mostly DRC citizens was keeping
the camp population artificially high and leaving the
potential for a quasi-permanent camp. While the GRM appears
to be taking an active role in the transition, there are
questions regarding the capacity of INAR as well as certain
potential for corruption in the distribution of financial
assistance through INAR. International NGOs World Vision and
World Relief have been operating projects promoting
self-reliance and local integration for the past several
years and report that their programs largely have been
successful. (Note: Both NGOs are wrapping up these programs
as part of the transition, meaning Mozambique will likely not
have any submissions for Taft Fund projects. End note). The
GRM has every incentive to ensure a smooth transition: as the
first-of-its kind pilot country to attempt such a shift in
operations, Mozambique could serve as a model to other
countries with sizeable refugee populations.

Chapman

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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