UNHCR Chief Urges More Investment in Jordan Compact
The head of the U.N. refugee agency urged the international community to invest in Jordan’s Compact experiment providing jobs for refugees, and to reverse a collapse in global resettlement places.
On a visit to Jordan, Filippo Grandi praised the Jordanian government for facilitating access to the labor market, an effort whose mixed results were detailed in a recent Refugees Deeply investigation. “What I will say to donors is we need to invest more in these schemes,” he said.
The UNHCR chief also warned that after countries like the U.S. reduced refugee resettlement numbers, only 10,000 refugees in Jordan would likely be resettled elsewhere in 2018, compared to between 25,000 and 30,000 in recent years. “Now my appeal to the U.S., to Denmark, to the countries that have reduced, is continue to raise again your quotas,” he said.
Grandi welcomed a decrease in deportation of Syrians from Jordan after UNHCR appeals to review their cases, and urged Jordan to speed up screening of some 8,000 Syrians held in a no-go zone of Azraq refugee camp so more could be released.
Tanzania Withdraws From UNHCR Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework
Tanzania is withdrawing from the U.N. refugee agency’s effort to reform refugee response, citing a lack of international funding.
The East African nation was hosting one of 13 pilots of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), a key component of the Global Compact on Refugees set to be concluded this year.
The CRRF promotes the inclusion of refugees into labor markets, education and national public services, in order to bring economic benefits and strengthen services for both refugees and local citizens.
The Tanzanian president announced his country’s withdrawal at a meeting on February 9. “Tanzania has decided to withdraw for reasons of security and lack of funds,” an official statement said. The country, which hosts around 300,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees, suspended a program granting citizenship to Burundians last month.
Congolese Refugees Drown Trying to Flee to Uganda
At least four refugees have drowned trying to escape fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid a surge in Congolese refugees taking boats across Lake Albert into Uganda.
They had paddled for two days in an overloaded canoe before the boat capsized on February 11 due to high waves, the U.N. refugee agency said. Many other refugees have been rescued after their boats ran out of fuel or engines broke, according to UNHCR.
Some 22,000 refugees crossed the lake into Uganda last week. At least two others died on February 7 when refugees scrambled to get onto boats on the DRC side of the lake. Another elderly man died of exhaustion upon arrival in Uganda.
Militia violence has pushed 120,000 people to flee DRC over the last year. The country has the highest number of internally displaced people in Africa, with 3.9 million people forced from their homes within the country’s borders.
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