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Violence in Burkina Faso forces Malian refugees to return home

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Burkina Faso. UN High Commissioner for Refugees visits Goudoubou camp

Fatima holds her baby among fellow Malian refugees in Goudoubo camp, Burkina Faso as they wait for dignity kits to be distributed.  © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

Insecurity in Burkina Faso is forcing an ever-growing number to flee their homes. They are searching for safety in the country or fleeing to Mali as refugees. At the same time, a worrying number of Malian refugees say it is safer to return to their home country rather than remain in Burkina Faso.

Some 14,000 people have fled their homes in Burkina Faso in just 17 days, bringing the total internally displaced to 780,000. Recent violence has also forced more than 2,035 people to flee to neighbouring Mali.

The insecurity also makes life much harder for Malian refugees who had sought protection in Burkina Faso and it threatens to bring to a halt efforts to help them rebuild their lives. Burkina Faso hosts over 25,000 refugees from Mali but many are choosing to return despite facing insecurity there.

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency remains alarmed by the dramatic rise of forced displacement in the Sahel and reiterates its call for the protection of civilian populations and those fleeing violence. Humanitarians need safe access to deliver assistance. Our scaled-up response to the crisis is centered around providing protection and emergency supplies to those forced to flee and communities hosting them, with a particular focus on shelter, education, sexual and gender-based violence while limiting the impact on nature.

In November last year, UNHCR was forced to temporarily relocate its staff from Djibo, a town in the North East of the country. The distribution of aid, including food, to Mentao camp’s 7,000 refugees has been sporadic since then.

There have been worrying incidents of violence this month around Dori, also in the North East. Camps and villages have been targeted. The people there can no longer access markets or schools and there have been few opportunities for activities that support their families. Health is also at risk, as the sole ambulance in the camp was stolen earlier this month. Some 70 per cent of the 8,781 refugees living in Goudoubo have chosen to voluntarily leave the camp, either to return to Mali (57 per cent) or to be relocated to other towns in Burkina Faso (13 per cent).

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Nearly 700 Malian refugees have already left by truck heading towards Gao region in Northern Mali. Refugees who want to return are provided with a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF), a document that enables them to travel, and receive a one-time payment to cover the transport costs and some of the items they need most urgently. They are also fully informed of the volatile security situation in their places of origin or an alternative area of their choice, before they choose voluntarily to return. Neither humanitarian actors nor the Malian defense forces can access some of the villages in Ntilit and Ngossi.

In Mali, as the first returns are arriving, we are strengthening our presence, together with our partners, in N’tillit, Gossi, Gao and Timbuktu areas. 28 registration points have been identified to monitor the situation in entry points and reception areas. Once they are registered, returnees will receive cash assistance to facilitate their reintegration in dignity through reducing their vulnerability.

READ  IOM, UNHCR, seek support for Venezuelan refugees, migrants

While Malian refugees are fleeing insecurity from Burkina Faso, newly arrived refugees from Burkina Faso have fled to Koro, in Bankass circle near Mopti. Our teams are on the ground with local authorities, to register them and assess their need to provide a rapid response.

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6 Nigerians deported from India


TWO Nigerians have been deported from India for overstaying their visas, the Delhi Police said on Thursday, bringing to six the total number of Nigerians expelled from the country since the beginning of this year.

According to a statement released on its official Twitter page, the Dwarka Police said the two Nigerians and a Sudanese were arrested and deported by officers from Uttam Nagar Police Station, after they were found to be living in India without valid visas and passports.

“2 #Nigerian Nationals & 1 from #Sudan were found living without having valid #Visa & #Passport during area #Patrolling duty, were deported by the staff of PS Uttam Nagar,” the statement read, using the hashtag #ActionAgainstIllegalStaying.

It was gathered that the two Nigerians recently deported were among 10 Nigerian nationals picked up by the police from the Uttam Nagar in Dwarka district on Wednesday, January 6.

Two Nigerian males were deported from the country on January 13th, 2021, by officers from the Mohan Garden Police Station and another male with one female were deported on January 11 in a similar sting operation by men from Uttam Nagar Police Division.

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The deputy commissioner of police, Dwarka, Santosh Kumr Meena, who confirmed the development, described their action as a gross violation of the Indian visa norms.

“Their visas have also expired but they are continuously staying in India which is a gross violation of the Indian visa norms. They have not provided any suitable reason and supportive documents for their overstay in India,” he said.

Over the years, several Nigerians residing in the country have been arrested and deported. The offences charged against them include illegal stay, internet fraud, online romance scams and drug peddling.

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Biden reverses Trump’s travel ban on Nigeria, Yemen, Eritrea, others

Mr Biden has now nullified the entry ban on citizens from over a dozen countries, including Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, and Sudan.

Newly sworn-in American president, Joe Biden, on Wednesday, issued an executive order nullifying a travel ban imposed on citizens of some Muslim-majority countries by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Before his exit from White House on Wednesday, Mr Trump-led administration was notorious for its harsh policies against immigrants and asylum seekers, one of his many election campaign promises.

He tightened the policies amidst the coronavirus pandemic which rocked the globe, claiming his decision was to protect American populace.

However, Mr Biden, immediately after his inauguration on Wednesday, issued a number of executive orders undoing some of the policies and projects of his predecessor.

Reversals
Mr Biden has now nullified the entry ban on citizens from over a dozen countries, including Nigeria, Eritrea, Yemen, and Sudan.

“There’s no time to waste.

“These are just all starting points,” he said before signing the 17 executive orders in the White House, a statement that connotes the possibility of many more to come.

READ  Average of 11,500 people boarded vessels monthly from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in 2019

Mr Trump’s strict immigration policies have been condemned by leaders and civil groups in the past.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on Wednesday lauded Mr Biden’s decision berating his predecessor’s travel policy a “cruel Muslim ban that targeted Africans.

 

Culled from Premium Times

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Frightened residents brace as Cyclone Eloise approaches Mozambique

IOM is assisting the Government of Mozambique’s preparations for the arrival of Cyclone Eloise, moving people to safety in accommodation centers in Buzi. Photo: IOM 2021

 

Roughly 160 International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff in central Mozambique are working to prepare local communities for the imminent arrival of Cyclone Eloise, which is currently packing winds of at least 150 km/h.

“The people are scared,” said Cesaltino Vilanculo, an IOM Mobile team leader in the provincial capital Beira, who helped hundreds of families evacuate from unsafe temporary settlements to two accommodation centers.

“The water is rising in their zones and people are frightened, bracing for yet another storm.”

Eloise is expected to make landfall in Beira late Friday or early Saturday. By mid-afternoon today shops across the city are closed and flooded streets, empty.

IOM personnel will be ready to respond immediately with specialists in camp coordination and management, shelter, the distribution of non-food items, health and protection services and data mapping under IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).

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The Port of Beira is set to close on Friday for a period of about 40 hours in expectation of dangerous winds and rain from the afternoon of 22 January through the morning of 24 January. Beira is the main entry point for goods bound for north coastal Mozambique.

A limited supply of emergency non-food items had been stockpiled in Beira, including tarps and water tanks. However, resources are stretched, as IOM is actively responding to the crisis across Northern Mozambique.

At the same time, over 900 people are already displaced in Beira City due to recent heavy rains and the impact of Tropical Storm Chalane, which hit nearby Sofala Province on 30 December.

“The government is working, identifying the safe places to bring the people who are most vulnerable,” explained Aida Temba, a protection project assistant with IOM Mozambique.

“The rain is coming, and the water is rising and it’s not easy to reach all the people who need assistance. But we do our best to respond.”

Hundreds of families were evacuated to two accommodation centres, sheltered in tents provided by Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD). One accommodation center was today closed, in favor of moving families to schools, which provide more stable structure. Those families’ needs include food, potable water, hygiene kits and soap.

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IOM Mozambique also has reported that due to heavy rainfall and the discharge of water from the Chicamba dam and the Mavuzi reservoir—both in the Buzi District west of Beira—over 19,000 people have been affected and hundreds are being moved to accommodation centers. Their needs include food, hygiene kits, and COVID-19 prevention materials.

IOM staff are supporting the Government of Mozambique with the movements in both Beira and Buzi and actively working to improve drainage ways in resettlement sites in preparation for further rains.

IOM’s DTM, working jointly with Mozambique’s INGD, is poised to produce a report on displacement and damages within the first 72 hours of the cyclone’s arrival.

Tropical storms historically are common in these early months of rainy season. Cyclone Idai struck the country in March 2019. It is considered one of the worst tropical cyclones to hit Africa on record, claiming hundreds of lives, and affecting three million people across wide swaths of Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe. A second powerful storm, Cyclone Kenneth, hit Mozambique just weeks later.

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Total property damages from Cyclone Idai have been estimated at some USD2.2 billion. Almost two years later, roughly 100,000 people remain in resettlement sites, which also have been battered by the recent rains.

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