Central Africa and the Great Lakes
2013 UNHCR regional operations profile - Central Africa and the Great Lakes
While some progress has been achieved in finding durable solutions for Angolan, Burundian, Congolese and Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the United Republic of Tanzania, there was still more than 2.7 million people in the Central Africa and Great Lakes region at the beginning of 2012 who were internally displaced or had been forced to flee abroad.
The fight against poverty and the implementation of structural reforms in the framework of regional economic integration are high on the agendas of the different countries. However, progress remains slow, hampered, in Burundi, by high inflation and in the Republic of the Congo (Congo), by severe unemployment amongst youth.
In the DRC, the newly re-elected president was sworn in December 2011 and won majority in parliamentary elections, according to final results published in March 2012. Most of the DRC remained stable in 2012, with the exception of the two Kivu provinces in the east, which have faced a new wave of violence and insecurity since the beginning of the year.
The deteriorating security situation in the DRC has pushed some 20,000 refugees into Rwanda since late April 2012. UNHCR is providing protection and care for these people. At the same time, more than 7,000 Rwandan refugees living in the DRC have returned home with UNHCR's assistance.
In Cameroon, the outgoing president was reinstalled after the presidential poll of October 2011, which was held in a relatively calm atmosphere, despite some isolated incidents of violence.
Strategy in 2013
In 2013, UNHCR will continue the repatriation of refugees from Burundi, the Congo, the DRC and Rwanda. Other solutions will be sought for those still in need of international protection and for those who have opted for local integration. Local-integration activities will focus on community-based interventions, and will also provide targeted assistance to enhance professional skills and improve livelihoods, particularly among people with special needs.
Raising awareness of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and combating it will be an overarching objective. UNHCR will continue to help survivors of SGBV by providing them with psychosocial, medical and legal support. The inclusion of SGBV survivors in livelihood projects will increase their economic independence.
The Office will implement its urban refugee policy, which is designed to improve access to basic services and self-reliance, in Burundi and Cameroon. It will also provide technical assistance to governments in order to strengthen their national asylum frameworks, especially in Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, the DRC and Gabon.
UNHCR will continue to deliver international protection and assistance to refugees living in camps, sites and settlements, with a special focus on the needs of women and children.
Resettlement will be used both as a protection tool and as a means to secure durable solutions in particular for the most vulnerable refugees as well as for refugees from DRC.
The organization will focus on preventing statelessness while raising awareness of the importance of documentation in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the DRC.
UNHCR will maintain its leadership of the Protection and Shelter/Non-Food Items clusters. It will also continue to participate in the Early Recovery cluster in the Central African Republic and the DRC.
Lack of infrastructure coupled with the remoteness of some locations and difficult access to persons of concern are some of the logistical challenges faced in the region.
Insecurity in the Central African Republic and the DRC seriously hampers the movement of humanitarian workers and delays the implementation of protection and assistance programmes.
In Rwanda, the lack of land hinders the expansion of existing refugee camps and prevents the development of livelihood activities.
Operations in Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo, Rwanda, and the United Republic of Tanzania are covered in separate chapters.
By the end of 2011, Gabon was hosting a total of some 13,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, approximately 9,000 of them from the Congo. Following the Government's decision to declare the unilateral cessation of refugee status for these refugees in 2010, UNHCR worked with the authorities from the Congo and Gabon and outlined a plan to identify durable solutions for those concerned, including voluntary repatriation and local integration.
In 2011, as a result, 708 refugees repatriated voluntarily, while UNHCR sponsored 1,462 residency permits reaching 2,696 individuals. Furthermore, 103 refugees were accepted for resettlement and 39 individuals had their refugee status confirmed. Approximately 5,200 Congolese did not choose either option as they would like to be resettled. In light of the significant decline in the number of refugees in Gabon, UNHCR will close its office in the country in 2013. Any remaining activities will be carried out by national staff under the supervision of the Regional Representation in Kinshasa.
The overall requirements for the Central Africa and Great Lakes region in 2013 stand at USD 322.6 million, a significant drop from USD 383.7 million in 2012 and USD 417 million in 2011.
|UNHCR 2013 budget for Central Africa and the Great Lakes (USD)|
(as of 30 June 2012)
|1. Coordinates activities in Gabon and the Congo.
2. From 2013, Gabon will be reported under the Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office.
|Central African Republic||27,795,778||9,908,597||5,519,680||5,070,163||3,121,223||23,619,663|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office||151,018,845||64,729,635||1,894,970||24,576,432||64,796,478||155,997,515|
|United Republic of Tanzania||79,976,419||15,213,717||0||24,393,325||0||39,607,042|
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update