HEADLINES: Refugees

Civilians walk along Tripoli Street in Misrata. UNHCR/ H. Caux / June 1, 2011

UNHCR/ H. Caux / June 1, 2011

Thousands of people still remain displaced in eastern Libya as a result of the conflict that erupted in mid-February between government and opposition forces. Most are staying with host families, in empty buildings or schools. Other people of concern to UNHCR, such as refugees and asylum-seekers, have fled conflict areas by boat to safer locations. They are now hoping to return to their homes in Libya, be resettled to a third country, or to return to their countries of origin. [UNHCR, Flickr]

On Monday, Kenya and Somalia called for other nations to help in their fight against Islamist insurgents after five civilians were killed and more than 50 wounded when a military aircraft hunting the militants struck a displaced persons camp in southern Somalia. Most of the victims and wounded were women and children, the organization said. In a meeting in Kenya’s capital, delegations from Somalia and Kenya, which has sent hundreds of soldiers backed by tanks and gunships into Somalia in a premeditated assault to vanquish the Shabab Islamist militant group, called for a naval blockade on the Shabab-controlled seaport of Kismaayo. [NYTimes]

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says it is struggling to keep up with the increased number of refugees entering Ethiopia from war and famine-stricken Somalia. The number of Somalis entering the Dollo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia has increased to about 300 per day in recent weeks — a level not seen since the height of the famine in July. The organization says it does not have enough latrines, shelter or drinking water for the thousands more who are expected to enter the camp in coming weeks. It is asking other aid agencies to help speed up the opening of a new camp at the site, and calling on Ethiopia’s government to continue facilitating imports of key supplies. Meanwhile, the United Nations says that because of fighting in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, it expects increasing numbers of Sudanese to enter Ethiopia.  [Voice of America]

Rwandans who fled the 1994 genocide and sought asylum in other countries will lose their refugee status by the end of June 2012 if the countries hosting them follow a recommendation by the UNHCR.  According to the “cessation clause” of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which UNHCR is recommending countries invoke for Rwandans, fundamental and durable changes in a refugee’s country of origin such that they no longer have a well-founded fear of persecution should remove the need for international protection. However, a number of Rwandan refugees living in South Africa whom IRIN interviewed insisted that, while there had been changes in Rwanda, it was not safe for them to return home.  [IRIN]

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