UNHCR warns against overlooking humanitarian crises in Africa

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Antonio Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The UN refugee agency has called for a renewed commitment to preventing conflict and ending protracted displacement especially on the African continent.

UNHCR says Africa's 16 million internally displaced persons and refugees represents the largest challenge for the agency in terms of capacity and financial requirements.

Speaking at the start of a high-level meeting on refugees in Africa, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the combination of large new emergencies, protracted conflict and displacement situations on the continent places an enormous stress on host governments and communities.

Mr Guterres warned that the risks of overlooking the humanitarian crises in Africa are likely to be felt worldwide adding that the international community needs to assume its co-responsibility and provide much more systematic support, not only to refugees, but also to host countries and local communities.

"This lack of interest is not only unfair, it is also unwise. Let us show the commitment that is necessary to put displacement in Africa higher on the international agenda. There is a clear link today between events in Mali, Nigeria, Libya and Somalia, and what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Afghanistan. If the world goes on ignoring this link, threats of insecurity will come to everybody's door."

Mr Guterres said more support is needed for regional mediation and stabilization efforts in Africa noting that the closure of longstanding refugee situations including those involving Angolans and Rwandans was an indication progress can be made.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.40″

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