World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Chief UN refugee official to Africa's Great Lakes

Chief UN refugee official kicks off 4-nation visit to Africa's Great Lakes region

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rudd Lubbers, arrived today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), kicking off a four-nation visit to review UN operations and various peace initiatives that could pave the way for the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees throughout the Great Lakes region.

Arriving in the capital, Kinshasa, for a two-day visit to the DRC, Mr. Lubbers held separate meetings with officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Human Rights. He is also expected to meet with President Joseph Kabila tomorrow morning.

During his meetings, Mr. Lubbers was expected to appeal for improved access to refugees by humanitarian workers, and better human rights as a prerequisite for refugee return. Due to the recurring conflict in north Kivu, the UN's refugee agency has had intermittent contact with more than 40,000 Sudanese refugees who are hosted in the Aru area close to the border between the DRC and Sudan. Improved access is also needed to enable the agency's staff to search for Rwandan refugees who remain scattered in large forest areas of eastern DRC.

At a refuelling stop in the eastern town of Goma, Mr. Lubbers met with the governor of volatile north Kivu, Eugene Serufuli, who expressed concerns about continuing insecurity in the province. He also stressed that despite the sporadic fighting, Rwandan refugees in his region were continuing to return home - merging from the forest areas to be picked up at designated meting points.

In a brief press encounter, Mr. Lubbers told reporters that the UN agency was planning an integrated return operation for the voluntary repatriation of more than 300,000 Congolese refugees mainly in Tanzania, Zambia and the Republic of Congo. He credited the agency's achievements so far to positive political developments in the DRC.

"Our planning today is a direct consequence of the progress achieved on the political front in Congo," Mr. Lubbers said, outlining UNHCR's immediate plans for returns, which, in the coming weeks would include, assisting the return of more than 1,300 Congolese refugees who are anxious to go home from Molangue camp in the Central African Republic. He added that a number of Congolese refugees had also begun to return home on their own from neighbouring Zambia to the Katanga region in southern DRC.

Mr. Lubbers is expected to head to the Angolan capital, Luanda, tomorrow afternoon - the second leg of his tour, which also includes Tanzania and Burundi.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news