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Afghanistan remains the biggest producer of refugees – UN

Abuja – The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says Nigeria presently has 8,958 refugees in various refugee camps in the country.

The UNHCR Representative, Gogo Hukportie, said this while briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja on preparations for the World Refugees Day tagged: “A Refugee Family Torn Apart by War is too Many.”

Hukportie said the figure for global refugees was 15.42 million, with 26.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) globally and 895,000 persons in the process of seeking asylum.

She said in spite of the high number of new refugees, the overall figure was lower than the 2010 total which was 43.7 million people globally.

“Out of 15.42 million refugees all over the world, 10.4 million are under UNHCR`s mandate. Three quarters of the refugees (7.1 million) have been in protracted exile for at least five years awaiting a solution.

“However, some 4.8 million refugees are registered with our sister agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.”

According to her, 15.5 million refugees from the 26.4 million internally displaced persons received UNHCR assistance and protection in 2011.

She said that Afghanistan remained the biggest producer of refugees, as it currently had 2.7 million, followed by Iraq with 1.4 million.

Hukportie said that Sudan had 500,000 displaced persons while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had 491,000.

The UNHCR representative noted that majority of the world`s refugees flew to their neighbouring countries.

Hukportie said that Germany was the largest hosting country with 571,700 refugees, while South Africa was the largest recipient of individual asylum seekers’ applications.

She stressed that the number of refugees and the internally displaced persons had increased due to the Cote d`Ivoire crises in 2011 and the Malian crisis in 2012.

She, however, added that Liberian refugees totaling 5, 299 were the majority in Africa, followed by Cameroon with 1,999 and Congolese DRC with 833.

She thanked the Federal Government for assisting refugees from ECOWAS countries and other African refugees as well.

The National Commissioner for Refugees Commission, Hajiya Hadiza Kangiwa, said that the essence of the World Refugees Day was to raise awareness about the situation of refugees throughout the world.

She said that the World Refugees Day marked every June 20 was to commemorate refugees worldwide, adding that millions of refugees were affected by conflict and violence.

The commissioner added that “the day is a day in which the world reminds everyone that one refugee forced to flee his country is too many.” (NAN)


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