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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Republic of the Congo

| Overview |

Working environment

  • The Republic of the Congo (Congo) is a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, as well as to the 1969 OAU Convention. However, the country is yet to establish a comprehensive refugee and asylum law. It has also not acceded to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, nor the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Congo signed the Kampala Convention, but has not yet ratified it.

  • Most refugees in the Congo have been recognized on a prima facie basis. As of mid-2013, the Congo hosted over 60,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from Angola, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

  • The operational environment poses several logistical challenges to providing humanitarian assistance to refugees in the north of the country. Challenges include the lack of road access to eighty per cent of the refugee population and changing water levels that make movements by river impossible during six months of the year.

  • In June 2013, the Congo invoked the cessation clauses for Rwandan refugees who fled their country between 1959 and 1998. UNHCR is working closely with the Government to process over 4,000 applications received from Rwandan refugees seeking continued international protection.

  • For the next biennium, it is anticipated that the Congo will continue to provide refugees with identification documents, designate areas where they can live, provide overall protection to refugee populations and ensure their freedom of movement.

People of concern

The people of concern planned for in 2014 under the Congo operation are: refugees from the DRC who arrived in the country in 2009 and for whom voluntary repatriation is ongoing; refugees from the CAR who fled the ongoing crisis in the country; Rwandan refugees who fled their country in the aftermath of the genocide; and Angolan refugees who fled their country as a result of conflicts between 1961 and 2002.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Congo
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 70,240 70,240 44,260 44,260 23,710 23,710
Refugees Angola 260 260 230 230 100 100
Dem. Rep. of the Congo 57,350 57,350 32,240 32,240 12,120 12,120
Rwanda 8,140 8,140 4,980 4,980 1,000 1,000
Various 290 290 430 430 250 250
Asylum-seekers Chad 160 160 150 150 150 150
Dem. Rep. of the Congo 2,490 2,490 2,390 2,390 2,390 2,390
Rwanda 240 240 230 230 220 220
Various 320 320 300 300 270 270
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Congo 10 10 10 10 10 10
Others of concern Angola 590 590 - - - -
Rwanda - - 3,000 3,000 6,950 6,950
Various 390 390 300 300 250 250

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, the main needs relate to the voluntary repatriation of refugees from the DRC, and to protection and solutions for all refugees and asylum-seekers in the Congo.

The Office plans to assist the voluntary repatriation of 20,000 refugees to the DRC, with transport and cash grants, in 2014. Individuals with special needs will be identified and receive special assistance.

UNHCR will work in collaboration with the Government to ensure that all refugees have access to documents. It will build the capacity of local authorities to recognize documents and reduce harassment and detention of asylum-seekers and refugees.

UNHCR will work, in collaboration with the Comité National d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CNAR), to expedite the processing of asylum applications awaiting a decision and to improve the current system.

For Rwandan refugees, a Government committee established with the support of UNHCR will process applications for exemption, and the Office will continue negotiations with the Government to ensure the right to appeal and to facilitate access to local integration, where appropriate.

The system to identify and refer cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) will be reinforced, particularly in the north of the country, and capacity-building efforts with the Government will strengthen the legal system.

For all refugees, there will be emphasis on providing children with access to primary school. Refugees will continue to have access to health care, water and sanitation services.

| Implementation |

Coordination

UNHCR works, in coordination with the CNAR, on all activities aimed at protecting and assisting refugees in urban and rural areas. The CNAR has a presence in Brazzaville as well as in other areas of the country where refugees and asylum-seekers are located.

UNHCR works with other UN organizations as well as with national and international humanitarian partners to find solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers. Monthly meetings established with humanitarian partners to reinforce coordination, particularly in light of the infl ux of refugees from the CAR into the Congo, will continue in 2014. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP to further ensure that gaps in all sectors are addressed adequately.

2014 UNHCR partners in Congo
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Comité National d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CNAR)
NGOs: African Initiatives for Relief and Development, Agence d'Assistance aux Rapatriés et aux Réfugiés au Congo, Commission d'Entraide pour les Migrants et les Réfugiés, International Partnership for Human Development, Médecins d'Afrique
Others: UNDP, WFP
Operational partners
Government agencies: Comité National d'Assistance aux Réfugiés (CNAR)
NGOs: African Initiatives for Relief and Development, International Partnership for Human Development
Others: UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNV, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

Since the arrival of refugees from the DRC in late 2009, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in the Congo have remained relatively constant, allowing the Office to meet the basic protection and assistance needs of refugees and asylum-seekers in the country.

UNHCR's revised 2013 budget is USD 29.6 million. In 2014, the financial requirements are set at USD 29.9 million, given the unstable situation in the CAR and the ongoing refugee arrivals in the country.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in the Republic of the Congo
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in the Republic of the Congo
Street Address 6, Rue 18 Mars 1977
Quartier Cathédrale
Brazzaville
Mailing Address B.P. 1093
Brazzaville
Telephone +242 05 737 3703
Facsimile +41 22 739 7279
Email cobbr@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Tuesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Wednesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Thursday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Friday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January, New year's Day
03 January, 10th day
22 April, Vendredi saint
25 April, Easter Monday
1rst May, Labor day (Observed on May 2)
15 August, National Day of independance
21 September, Eid Al-Fitr
1rst November, Halloween
16 November, Eid Al-Adha
25 December, Christmas
The UNHCR Field Office in Betou
Style of Address The UNHCR Head of Field Office in Betou
Street Address 6, Rue du 18 mars 1977
Quartier Mission Catholique Sacre Cœur
Brazzaville
Mailing Address Case postale 1093
Telephone +242 05 737 3701
Facsimile +41 22 739 7279
Email cobbe@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Tuesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Wednesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Thursday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Friday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 1er janvier, Premier jour de l’An
04 janvier, 10e Jour
02 avril, Vendredi Saint
05 avril, Lundi de Pâques
1er mai, Fete du Travail
15 aout, Fete Nationale
09 septembre, Eid Al-Fitr
1er Novembre, Toussaint
16 Novembre, Eid Al-Adha
25 decembre, Noel
The UNHCR Field Office in Impfondo
Style of Address The UNHCR Head of Field Office in Impfondo
Street Address 336, Avenue Denis Sassou Nguesso
Impfondo
Mailing Address Case postale 1093
6, Rue du 18 mars 1977
Quartier Mission Catholique Sacre Cœur
Brazzaville
Telephone +242 05 737 3702
Facsimile +41 22 739 7279
Email cobim@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 1:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Tuesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Wednesday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Thursday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Friday:AM: 8:00 - 13:00, PM: 14:00 - 16:30
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 1er janvier, Premier jour de l’An
03 January, 10th day
02 avril, Vendredi Saint
05 avril, Lundi de Pâques
1er mai, Fete du Travail
15 aout, Fete Nationale
09 septembre, Eid Al-Fitr
1er Novembre, Toussaint
16 Novembre, Eid Al-Adha
25 decembre, Noel
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at mid-2013
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Republic of the Congo [1]
Refugees [2] 66,189
Asylum Seekers [3] 2,982
Returned Refugees [4] 9
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 1,556
Total Population of Concern 70,736
Originating from Republic of the Congo [1]
Refugees [2] 11,733
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,011
Returned Refugees [4] 9
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 14,753

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Congo's river refugees

More than 100,000 Congolese refugees have crossed the Oubangui River in search of safety in neighbouring Republic of the Congo since inter-ethnic violence erupted in their home areas late last year. They fled from Equateur province in the north-west of Democratic Republic of the Congo after Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults in October on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area. The tensions have spread to other parts of the province.

The majority of the displaced are camping in public buildings and some 100 sites along a 600-kilometre stretch of the Oubangui River, including with host communities. The massive influx is stretching the meagre resources of the impoverished and remote region. Help is urgently needed for both the refugees and the host communities.

The relief operation is logistically complex and expensive because the region can only be reached by plane or boat. However, few boats are available and most are in need of repair. Fuel is expensive and difficult to procure.

Congo's river refugees

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Uganda: New Camp, New Arrivals

Recent fighting in eastern Congo has seen thousands of civilians flee to a new camp, Bubukwanga, in neighboring Uganda.

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Refugees in Republic of Congo

UNHCR struggles to reach isolated groups of refugees who fled inter-ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 100,000 are sheltering in neighbouring Republic of Congo.
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Refugees in Republic of Congo

Tens of thousands of people have reportedly fled a wave of ethnic violence in the north-west of the embattled Democratic Republic of the Congo. The civilians have fled from Equateur province, crossing the Ubangi River and seeking shelter in Republic of the Congo.