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

 


Global community must boost aid to Central Africa

Global community must boost aid to Central Africa, says UN refugee chief

The international community must increase its support to Central Africa at a crucial time in its troubled history as the region makes the precarious transition from war to peace while being struck hard by drought, the United Nations top refugee official has declared.

“The first impression is one of hope,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres told a news conference in Geneva yesterday after his return from a one-week mission to the Great Lakes region where he visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

“The resilience of the people is making possible what everywhere else would be a miracle. My appeal to the international community is to provide the conditions for these hopes to be translated into reality. That will require a bigger engagement in the years and months to come,” he added.

Mr. Guterres, who was on an unprecedented mission with the heads of the two other largest UN humanitarian agencies, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director James Morris and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, said massive human rights violations were still taking place in some of the eastern provinces of the DRC due to the extremely precarious political situation.

“According to the lowest of the figures I received, and there are much higher estimates, the number of rapes in 2005 in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo was 25,000. This is something intolerable in today's world,” he declared.

He stressed the importance of supporting the efforts of the Congolese government in building a well-trained and disciplined national army in order to improve the country's human rights situation.

“At the moment the armed forces are an important factor of insecurity: not only do they not guarantee security, they actually commit human rights violations themselves,” he said. “The international community has to do more to help the governments train and discipline its army - and for this, the government needs salaries to pay its soldiers and food to feed them.”

The DRC, with UN assistance, is preparing for nationwide elections in June to complete its transition from the most lethal fighting in the world since World War II – a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives from combat, hunger and disease. Medical experts say 1,200 people are still dying needlessly every day. More than 3.4 million have been displaced from their homes and 17 million don't have a steady supply of food.

Mr. Guterres said a global approach was needed not only on the political level, but also in the humanitarian field, noting that this first joint mission was a clear signal of the UN’s commitment to team-work and using the drought currently affecting eastern and central Africa as an example.

“Many of the displacement problems we have today, and I am talking of tens of thousands of people, are not to do with persecution or conflict but with hunger,” he explained, adding that UNHCR and WFP will need to work together even more closely on this issue.

“We have to address food security to avoid displacement. People should not have to leave their country to be able to receive assistance, but often it is easier for Burundians to find food in a refugee camp in Tanzania than in their village in 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