The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) moves to extend its Africa Bureau operations. It intends to make this a reality by adding three regional offices to handle issues across the region for effective response.
Before now, the International Organization had just one Africa Bureau based in Geneva. But with the enormous crisis facing the region, their response to the situation wasn’t effective enough.
UNHCR’S Regional Representative to West Africa, Mrs. Liz Ahua said that the Africa Bureau covers 38 countries. Howbeit, they had to come to the decision to split it into three Bureaus with three Bureau Directors over it, while the regional offices still remain active.
UNHCR is going through a reformation process to make it more effective and responsive, especially during an emergency.
In times past, the International Organization was known to be extremely rapid and flexible. But presently, their services have grown cold, which is why it embarked on a process of decentralization and regionalization.
“We hope that it would yield a more spry and compact structure that responds more quickly and easily accessible to people than Geneva is”, Ahua said.
The first Bureau will be based in Dakar, supervising West Africa and Central Africa, with 18 countries under its jurisdiction.
While the other one will be based in Pretoria, supervising the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with all the affairs of the southern African countries.
The last Bureau will be in Nairobi, supervising East Africa and the horn of Africa.
While Ahua was addressing the peculiarities of issues encountered in the sub regions, she made reference to the West Africa and East Africa sub-regions being faced with more issues of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and statelessness situations.
On the other hand, the regional representative said that the southern Africa region had more of asylum seekers and people in migration like situations and less of refugees and IDPs.
Ahua is with the opinion that South Africa region deals more with the migration crisis. But regardless of the migration status, UNHCR remained committed to ensuring the protection of persons of concerns and providing durable solutions.
In a bid to finding solutions for the forcefully displaced persons, UNHCR is working side by side with other partners such as International Organization for Migration (IOM) to address the migration challenges, as it fell under their respective views.
According to Ahua, “the UNHCR has evacuated and transferred about 3,000 Persons of Concern and settled 1,306 persons between 2018 and now “.
“Recently, some refugees and migrants were caught in the Libyan situation. Some of whom have been trafficked, smuggled and passed through the desert, only to discover they cannot cross over to Europe”.
“They came into the UNHCR center and they have been evacuated to Niger”, she said.
Last year, 1,306 have settled but the number of people who have been transferred is in the region if 3,000.
Ahua concluded that moving out of Libya to Niger does not mean that you will be resettled as they still have a prerequisite which is still active.