United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

25 September 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 105


       Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................     1         3

      50/149 ................................................   2 - 75      4

      A. Overview ..........................................    2 - 7       4

      B. Regional overview .................................    8 - 55      5

         1.   West Africa ...................................   8 - 25      5

         2.   East and Horn of Africa .......................  26 - 36      8

         3.   Southern Africa ...............................  37 - 43     10

         4.   Great Lakes region ............................  44 - 54     12

         5.   North Africa ..................................    55        14

      C. Inter-agency cooperation ..........................   56 - 71     14

         1.   Overview ......................................  56 - 62     14

         2.   Relief assistance .............................  63 - 66     15

         3.   Capacity-building .............................    67        16

         4.   Demobilization ................................    68        16

         5.   Mine clearance programme ......................    69        16

         6.   Environment ...................................  70 - 71     16

      D. Cooperation with subregional organizations ........   72 - 75     17

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   By its resolution 50/149 of 21 December 1995, the General
Assembly, inter alia:

     (a)  Noted with concern the effects of political instability,
internal strife, human rights violations, foreign intervention,
poverty and natural disasters, such as drought, in increasing the
number of refugees and displaced persons in some countries of Africa;

     (b)  Commended the Governments concerned for their sacrifices, for
providing assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and
for their efforts to promote voluntary repatriation and other measures
taken to find appropriate and lasting solutions;

     (c)  Called upon the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees to intensify its protection activities by,
inter alia, supporting the efforts of African Governments through
appropriate training of relevant officers and other capacity-building
activities, disseminating information about refugee instruments and
principles and providing financial, technical and advisory services to
accelerate the enactment or amendment and implementation of
legislation relating to refugees;

     (d)  Appealed to Governments, United Nations and non-governmental
organizations and the international community to create conditions
that can facilitate the voluntary return and the early rehabilitation
and reintegration of refugees;

     (e)  Called upon the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, in conjunction with host Governments,
United Nations and non-governmental organizations and the
international community, to undertake an early assessment of the
negative impacts of large refugee concentrations on the host
communities, with a view to initiating timely and concrete measures to
prevent damage and to assist in its repair, especially damage caused
by   mass refugee influxes to the environment and ecosystem in host

     (f)  Called upon Governments, United Nations organizations,
non-governmental organizations and the international community as a
whole to strengthen the emergency response capacity of the Office of
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the basis of the
experience of the emergency in Rwanda, and to continue providing
needed resources and operational support to Rwandan refugees and the
host countries until a permanent solution can be implemented;

     (g)  Called upon the international donor community to provide
material and  financial assistance for the implementation of programmes
intended for the rehabilitation of the environment and infrastructure
in areas affected by refugees in countries of asylum;

     (h)  Called upon Member States and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to continue to provide the necessary
support and financial assistance to the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees to enhance    her capacities and abilities to
implement emergency operations, care and     maintenance activities and
repatriation and reintegration programmes for the benefit of refugees,
returnees and, as appropriate, internally displaced persons;

     (i)  Called upon the Secretary-General, the United Nations High
Commissioner for  Refugees, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of
the Secretariat, United Nations humanitarian organizations, the
International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation
of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, regional and international
financial institutions, the International Organization for Migration
and non-governmental organizations to increase the capacity for
coordination and delivery of humanitarian emergency assistance and
disaster relief in general, with States and others concerned in
respect of asylum, relief, repatriation, rehabilitation and
resettlement of refugees, returnees and displaced persons, including
those refugees in urban areas;

     (j)  Requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
to review her general programmes in Africa to take account of the
increasing requirements in that region and with a view to continuing
her efforts and expanding her activities in close collaboration with
the Organization of African Unity, regional organizations and
governmental and non-governmental organizations in Africa, in order to
consolidate aid and increase essential services to refugees, returnees
and displaced persons;

     (k)  Requested the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive and
consolidated report on the situation of refugees, returnees and
displaced persons in Africa to the General Assembly at its fifty-first
session, under the item entitled "Report of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to     refugees, returnees
and displaced persons and humanitarian questions", and an oral report
to the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session of 1996.

                     RESOLUTION 50/149

                                 A.  Overview

2.   Since the adoption of General Assembly resolution 50/149 on
21 December 1995, the African continent has continued to be plagued by
the consequences for forced population displacement.  During the
reporting period, Africa has continued to host a larger number of
persons of concern to the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) than any other region.  As of early
1996, there were 9,145,400 refugees, internally displaced persons and
other people of concern to UNHCR in Africa - about one third of the
total worldwide population of concern to UNHCR.  UNHCR expenditure and
allocations for assistance in Africa in 1995 totalled $482.6 million,
of which $173 million was made available for general programme funds
and $309.5 million for special programme funds.  The revised 1996
general programmes target approved by the Executive Committee at its
forty-sixth session is $155.9 million.  The amount required for
special programmes in 1996 is estimated at mid-year at $396.6 million.

3.   The situation of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in
Africa has continued to be influenced by the harsh socio-economic
realities of the continent and the related problems of the evolution
of viable political institutions and processes based on democratic
principles that will accommodate the diversity of cultures and the
aspiration for peace, security and sustainable development.

4.   The situation in the Great Lakes region remains a source of
considerable concern for the international community, in particular
countries of the subregion.  The year 1996 began with renewed
expectations for significant voluntary repatriation from Zaire and
Burundi.  However, the number of refugees in the Great Lakes region
has significantly diminished only in Burundi, where the sharply
deteriorating security situation also spawned a fresh outflow of
Burundi asylum-seekers into the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire. 
Initiatives to encourage repatriation from Zaire at the beginning of
the year did not result in major return movements.

5.   In West Africa, the hopes raised by the signing of the Abuja
Agreement of 19 August 1995 for the imminent return home of Liberian
refugees and internally displaced persons have been dashed by the
resumption of fighting and the subsequent destruction of most of the
humanitarian assistance infrastructures.

6.   The holding of free and fair elections in Sierra Leone and the
ongoing peace negotiations between the Revolutionary United Front
(RUF) and the Government are positive developments that could lead, in
the near future, to the return of most Sierra Leonean refugees and
internally displaced persons to their homes.

7.   A positive evolution of the political situation in Angola is still
awaited, with cautious optimism, to launch the organized return and
reintegration of some 311,000 refugees and allow the return of more
than 1 million internally displaced persons to their homes.

                             B.  Regional overview

                                1.  West Africa

8.   By and large, the prospects for durable solutions for refugees and
internally displaced persons in West African countries are mixed. 
Although the situations in Togo and Mali have normalized, in Liberia
renewed fighting in April 1996 dashed all hope of the repatriation
that had been scheduled following the Abuja Agreement of 19 August

(a)  Togolese refugees repatriation/reintegration

9.   As the economic and security situation improved in Togo in 1995,
repatriation movements continued from Benin and Ghana.  It is expected
that most refugees will have been repatriated by mid-1997.  Returnees
are provided with a three-month food ration by the World Food
Programme (WFP) and a cash repatriation grant from UNHCR.  With the
exception of vulnerable cases, returnees are not receiving individual
assistance in Togo.  Rather, communal structures including schools and
hospitals in returnee-affected areas in Lome' will be renovated by
UNHCR, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and
the Deutsche Gesellschaft fu"r Technische Zusammenarbeit.  Small-scale
income-generating activities will also be supported by UNHCR.  In
addition, agricultural tools and seedlings will be provided to those
returnees who are farmers.  For those who do not opt for repatriation,
care and maintenance programmes will be maintained and an emphasis put
on income-generating activities in the countries of asylum.

(b)  Liberian refugees and internally displaced persons

10.  There are more than 750,000 Liberian refugees in the countries
neighbouring Liberia and an estimated 1.1 million internally displaced
persons.  An inter-agency appeal coordinated by the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat was issued for
Liberia, covering the period September 1995 through August 1996; $110
million was requested, of which 73 per cent had been donated as of 1
August 1996.

11.  Following the upsurge of the fighting in April 1996, all United
Nations agencies in Monrovia were looted and then relocated to a safer
suburb of the city.  As a result of the renewed conflict, UNHCR has
suspended its much advanced preparatory activities for the
repatriation of some 750,000 Liberian refugees until there is a
resumption of the peace process and the restoration of security in
Monrovia and elsewhere in the country.  Progress in the disarmament
and demobilization exercise as well as the extension of central
government administration throughout the country are further
prerequisites for the commencement of any organized repatriation.  A
new timetable of the Liberian peace process, leading to elections on
31 May 1997, was determined during the fourth summit meeting of the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Committee of Nine
on Liberia, held in Abuja on 17 August 1996.  A fragile peace prevails
in Liberia at the time of reporting.  Meanwhile, some limited food
assistance is provided through the United Nations Humanitarian
Coordinator to internally displaced persons and refugees in and around
Monrovia.  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has continued
to provide vaccines and other medical supplies for the implementation
of immunization programmes among refugees and the internally
displaced.  Support for basic education, trauma and human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counselling, medical and legal services
and health education is also provided.

12.  Meanwhile, assistance continues to be provided in countries of
asylum, mainly Co^te d'Ivoire and Guinea.  A recent joint WFP/UNHCR
donor meeting in Abidjan recommended a gradual phasing out of general
food distribution because a large portion of the Liberian refugees had
reached an adequate degree of self-sufficiency.  Heads of families
participating in the agricultural sector and in income-generating
activities will be assisted by UNHCR in 1996.  Local authorities are
being encouraged to allow the refugees use of land for swamp rice
cultivation.  UNHCR assistance will focus on the provision of seeds,
tools and fertilizer and the preparation of land.

13.  Security and protection concerns include recent attacks by
Liberian warring factions on refugees in Co^te d'Ivoire and in Guinea. 
The resulting loss of lives and property has strained relations
between the local and refugee populations. UNHCR has reinforced its
presence at the field level, and Co^te d'Ivoire increased its military
presence in refugee receiving areas during the month of July 1996.

(c)  Sierra Leonean refugees and internally displaced persons

14.  During the last five years, Sierra Leone has been faced with civil
war following persistent armed confrontation between the Government
and the RUF.  The situation worsened in 1995, with frequent attacks on
villages, roads and citizens.  The result was a drastic increase in
population movement:  1.6 million persons were internally displaced
and refugees fled to Guinea (240,000) and to Liberia (120,000).

15.  The military Government handed over power to a democratically
elected Government on 29 March 1996.  Before and following elections,
the Government embarked on negotiations with the RUF, culminating in a
ceasefire agreement, the outcome of which has led to concrete
transition planning proposals.

16.  Since the ceasefire, there are indications that a number of
internally displaced persons, particularly in the Bonthe, Kono, Makeni
and Pujehun districts, have been able to return to their places of
origin.  Should the improved security situation be maintained and
further steps for lasting peace be achieved, UNHCR will initiate
repatriation for some 360,000 Sierra Leoneans residing in neighbouring

17.  The United Nations Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit in
Sierra Leone has updated an appeal addressing needs in the food,
water, sanitation and demobilization sectors, which was presented to
the donor community at a round table held in Geneva in May 1996.

18.  Meanwhile, given the volatile situation in Liberia, an influx of
Sierra Leonean returnees as well as Liberian refugees into Sierra
Leone could occur.  Accordingly, UNHCR has developed a contingency
plan for both Sierra Leonean returnees as well as Liberian refugees.

(d)  Repatriation of Malian refugees

19.  The la flamme de la paix ceremony held by the Government of Mali
on 27 and 28 March 1996 marked the culmination of the reconciliation
process:  the five opposing factions declared the dissolution of their
movements and the small weapons collected from the ex-combatants were

20.  Given earlier positive developments, UNHCR had already initiated a
pilot  repatriation project in 1995, and is now focusing on its
operations in the northern part of Mali through the implementation of
a reintegration programme for organized and spontaneous returnees,
mainly from Mauritania, Algeria, Burkina Faso and the Niger.

21.  UNHCR has taken advantage of the dry season in Mali (March to June
1996) to accelerate the preparatory activities and the rehabilitation
of water points in priority returnee areas, as well as to strengthen
the overall absorption capacity in Mali.  During the rainy season
(July to September 1996), further preparation was completed for a
larger-scale repatriation expected to begin in October 1996.  In terms
of objectives, UNHCR expects that most Malian refugees (102,000) in
neighbouring countries will be repatriated by the end of 1997.

(e)  Repatriation of refugees of the Niger

22.  As in Mali, there was an end to violence between the Government of
the Niger and the Organization de la Re'sistance arme'e.  Given that
positive development, UNHCR is preparing the repatriation of refugees
from the Niger living in Algeria (20,000) and in Burkina Faso (700). 
Tripartite agreements for voluntary repatriation were signed on 6
March 1996 between the Governments of Algeria, the Niger, Burkina Faso
and UNHCR.

23.  Before the start of the operation in October 1996, a registration
exercise of refugees from the Niger living in countries of asylum will
be undertaken in order to establish the number of candidates, their
profiles and to finalize preparations in the area of return.

(f)  Mauritanian refugees

24.  As of early 1996, there were 66,500 Mauritanian refugees settled
in the rural areas of the re'gion du fleuve.  They have been in
Senegal since 1989, and following the recommendations of a joint
WFP/UNHCR food assessment mission, general food distribution has been
phased out since January 1996, except for vulnerable groups.  Most
refugees have become self-sufficient in food production.

25.  A survey conducted recently among Mauritanian refugees revealed
that 78 per cent of the total refugee population may opt for voluntary
repatriation in the coming months.  UNHCR is therefore actively
preparing for their possible return.

                          2.  East and Horn of Africa

26.  The Horn and East Africa increasingly offer opportunities for
durable solutions, especially through voluntary repatriation, in
particular to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.  The realization of that
potential, however, will depend on cooperation among the States of the
region in resolving new and potential conflicts among and within the
countries.  UNHCR has tried to actively support capacity-building
within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and
hopes that IGAD, under its reinvigorated mandate, will play a decisive
role in peace-building as an essential precondition for subregional
stability, security and sustainable socio-economic development.

(a)  Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons

27.  In southern Sudan, the war continues unabated.  There are some
27,000 Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic; 91,000 in
northern Zaire; 221,000 in 35 settlements in Uganda, which hosts the
largest number of Sudanese refugees; 50,000 in Kenya; and 61,100 in
Ethiopia.  Given the Government of Uganda's generous policy of land
allocation, UNHCR has focused on the development of local settlements,
which would enable refugees to attain self-sufficiency in food
production and gradual integration.  So far, some 100,000 refugees
have been given land, and some 10,000 refugees who were allocated land
in 1994 and 1995 now have achieved self-sufficiency in food

28.  An inter-agency appeal was launched in February 1996 for $108
million to benefit 4.25 million war-affected and displaced persons in
the Sudan.  Initial donor response has been poor, with only 21 per
cent of requirements funded as of 1 August 1996.  Included in the
appeal were UNHCR assistance programmes providing assistance to
Eritrean, Ethiopian and other refugees who wish to repatriate.  Under
the overall coordination of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, a
number of United Nations agencies are involved in Operation Lifeline
Sudan, which brings humanitarian assistance to war-affected
populations during ongoing conflict.  Most of the beneficiaries are
internally displaced persons.

29.  Although some limited organized return has taken place during the
reporting period, mainly from the Central African Republic, there has
been an influx of Sudanese refugees from the South, mainly to Uganda,
northern Zaire, Kenya, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia.

30.  In the past few months, there has been an increase in acts of
violence against refugees and humanitarian workers in northern Uganda. 
During July 1996, 107 refugees were deliberately murdered by guerrilla
groups.  As a result, government troops were positioned in the refugee
camps in order to provide security.

(b)  Ethiopian refugees

31.  Starting on 15 December 1995, over 27,000 Ethiopian refugees were
repatriated by UNHCR from the Sudan, leaving an estimated 52,000 still
there.  The preparations for the airlift operation to repatriate 3,000
Ethiopian refugees from Kenya, who have registered and received
clearance from the Government of Ethiopia, have reached the final
stage, and the operation is scheduled to take place before the end of
1996.  As of 31 December 1995, 32,000 Ethiopian refugees had been
repatriated from Djibouti under the auspices of UNHCR, so that the
total refugee population remaining in Djibouti stood at 25,000, of
whom 22,000 were Somalis and 3,000 were Ethiopians.

(c)  Eritrean refugees

32.  As regards Eritrea, UNHCR hopes to build on the success of the
pilot repatriation programme, under which 25,000 Eritreans returned
home from the Sudan from November 1994 to June 1995, by facilitating
the voluntary repatriation of an additional 100,000 refugees. 
According to the Eritrean authorities, some 140,000 refugees have
returned spontaneously since 1991, mainly from the Sudan.  However,
the resumption of organized repatriation has been put on hold due to
differences of approach between the Governments of Eritrea and the
Sudan.  Negotiations are ongoing and it is hoped that a positive
outcome will be reached.  In March 1996, a high-level UNHCR mission to
the Sudan focused on reinforcing the long-standing relationship
between the Government of the Sudan and UNHCR.

33.  In Eritrea, UNHCR is formulating and implementing a series of
quick impact projects (QIPs), in cooperation with the Eritrean
Commissioner for Refugees.  The United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) is also involved in capacity-building, providing support to the
Government in its efforts to rehabilitate the areas of return.  Those
activities will promote sustainable reintegration by addressing the
collective needs of the returnee and host communities.

(d)  Somali refugees

34.  The number of Somali refugees stands at 126,056 in Kenya and
275,189 in Ethiopia.  However, since 1992, the cross-border operation
has allowed the return of some 45,000 Somalis from Kenya.

35.  During the last three years, an estimated 150,000 Somalis
voluntarily repatriated from Kenya.  Although the security situation
in Somalia remains fragile, it has been decided, following two
high-level inter-agency and UNHCR missions, to conduct a pilot
repatriation of 10,000 Somalis from Ethiopia to north-western Somalia.

36.  In the absence of a national Government and institutions that are
equipped to handle the needs of the approximately 200,000 internally
displaced persons and the reintegration requirements of thousands of
returnees, United Nations agencies are called upon to play a
significant coordinating role in areas of return and settlement.  In
areas in which conditions could have prompted flows of refugees into
neighbouring countries, measures have been taken to encourage
populations to remain in their home areas through the provision of
food and non-food assistance.

                              3.  Southern Africa

(a)  Mozambican refugees

37.  On 24 July 1996, UNHCR participated in a ceremony marking the end
of a process that saw the voluntary return of 1.7 million Mozambican
refugees and exiles as part of the peace settlement.  The lessons
learned from that successful voluntary repatriation and reintegration
operation will enhance similar programmes in the future.  In
particular, the implementation of the return of refugees as part of
the Angolan peace process will benefit from the Mozambican example.

38.  UNHCR assistance inside Mozambique has focused on the
reintegration of returnees and other targeted populations in priority
areas by improving food security, road access, water, sanitation and
primary health care.  Those activities have been implemented through
over 1,500 QIPs, which were completed on  schedule by the end of June
1996.  In addition, the UNHCR reintegration programme has developed
linkages with long-term bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental
agencies to assist the Government in ensuring sustainability of the
reintegration projects.

(b)  Repatriation of Angolan refugees and assistance to internally
     displaced persons

39.  Following the signing of the Lusaka Protocol on 20 November 1994
between the Government of Angola and the National Union for Total
Independence of Angola (UNITA), a UNHCR appeal was launched in June
1995 to fund a repatriation and reintegration operation for some
311,000 Angolan refugees over a period of 30 months from June 1995 to
December 1997.  An updated appeal covering the requirements for
repatriation assistance for Angolan refugees returning from
neighbouring countries and elsewhere was issued in March 1996.

40.  To facilitate policy and operational coordination, UNHCR and the
Governments of Angola and Namibia signed a tripartite agreement on
7 November 1995, establishing, inter alia, a tripartite commission,
which first met at Luanda from 21 to 23 November 1995.

41.  It was originally expected that approximately 211,000 of the
estimated 311,000 Angolan refugees still living in neighbouring
countries would have returned by the end of 1996.  The delays in
implementation of the Lusaka Protocol and the lack of steady progress
in implementation of the peace process, necessary for the voluntary
repatriation to start, have caused the rate of spontaneous return to
be lower than anticipated.  Moreover, no organized movement could
begin due to the fragile security situation and the presence of
landmines.  Although some improvement has recently been achieved with
the quartering of UNITA soldiers and prospects for a unified army,
only about 30,000 Angolan refugees have returned spontaneously to
their places of origin.

42.  Preparatory activities inside Angola include reintegration
activities, such as the repair and upgrading of schools,
hospitals/health centres, access roads and bridges to strengthen
communal facilities for absorbing Angolan refugees spontaneously
returning from Zaire, Zambia, the Congo and elsewhere.  Those
activities are being implemented in consultation with the national
authorities and other agencies and are linked, to the extent possible,
to the efforts of long-term development actors.

43.  In addition, for operations in Angola the 1996 inter-agency appeal
coordinated by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs requested $188
million.  As of July 1996, 36 per cent of the needs had been covered. 
The main objectives of the humanitarian programme are to bring
assistance to vulnerable populations, facilitate the return and
resettlement of displaced populations, and promote the restoration of
self-reliance.  Besides potential returnees, there are an estimated
1,000,000 internally displaced persons and 1,800,000 war-affected (but
not displaced) persons in Angola.

                            4.  Great Lakes region

44.  The Great Lakes region has continued to confound attempts to find
a solution to its refugee problem.  After two years of emergency
relief assistance, the situation in the camps in the Great Lakes
region of Africa has stabilized.  The size of the refugee population -
nearly two million persons - and the situation prevailing in the
refugee-affected areas does not allow long-term settlement of the
refugees and voluntary repatriation is regarded as the only feasible
solution.  In the countries of asylum (Burundi, the United Republic of
Tanzania and Zaire), UNHCR is providing essential basic relief
assistance to the refugees as well as some assistance to the host

45.  Efforts continue to promote voluntary repatriation of the 1.7
million Rwandan refugees living in neighbouring countries.  The
tripartite commissions on repatriation involving Rwanda, UNHCR and the
United Republic of Tanzania or Burundi have met regularly.  Two
meetings at the ministerial level, involving Zaire, Rwanda and UNHCR,
were held at Geneva in September and December 1995.  Discussions at
commission meetings have focused on ways of enhancing repatriation
through mass information campaigns, separation of intimidators from
refugees, and cross-border visits.  At the time of reporting, major
obstacles to large-scale repatriation of Rwandan refugees remained,
including continuing intimidation in camps, insecurity in border
regions and the lack of a comprehensive political solution.

46.  The Government of Rwanda has taken major steps to re-establish a
civil administration and return the country to normalcy.  However, the
security situation in the country continues to be of concern,
especially in the prefectures bordering Zaire.  Frequent incursions
into Rwanda, mine incidents, sabotage on both sides of the border and
occasional exchanges of fire across the border continue.  The latest
killings of the survivors of the genocide in Rwanda is another
security concern that may have a negative effect on repatriation.  The
problem of arbitrary arrest and detention without trial has also
discouraged repatriation.  The recent passing of the Genocide Bill by
the Rwandan Parliament paves the way for the beginning of judicial
trials for crimes of genocide.

47.  As part of its efforts to facilitate voluntary repatriation and
reintegration, UNHCR is active in Rwanda, where the key component of
reintegration activities is the construction of shelter, principally
for refugees who fled prior to the events of April 1994.  UNHCR is
also implementing a number of QIPs in the water, health, education and
community services sectors in the areas of return in Rwanda.  In
addition to the monitoring of returnees and the implementation of a
mass information campaign, UNHCR is working closely with the Rwandan
judiciary and police to improve standards.  In spite of those efforts,
however, there have been no large repatriation movements.  In
July 1996, only about 2,600 persons voluntarily returned to Rwanda.

48.  As the lead agency in Rwanda for the repatriation of refugees,
UNHCR continues to monitor the returnee population and assist them in
reintegrating.  The recent experience in reintegrating large numbers
of returnees in a relatively short period has demonstrated the
improved capacity of UNHCR, the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) and implementing partners in receiving, transporting
and reintegrating the returnees.

49.  More than 15,000 refugees of Banyarwanda origin from the Masisi
area (Eastern Zaire) have arrived in Gisenyi (western prefecture of
Rwanda) since the beginning of 1996; their nationality remains to be
determined.  There have been some bilateral high level visits of
Zairian officials to Rwanda during which issues of common concern have
been addressed.  UNHCR is also discussing with both Rwanda and Zaire
the possibility of holding a tripartite commission meeting in
September 1996; the last such meeting was held in December 1995.

50.  In Burundi, where the security situation has been tenuous since
1993, there has been a further deterioration during the last few
months, culminating in the military coup of 25 July 1996.  Prior to
the coup, the Government of Burundi sent back to Rwanda 15,000
refugees from 19 to 22 July.  UNHCR questioned the voluntariness of
that return and did not participate in the operation.  However, UNHCR
received the expelled refugees in Rwanda, assisted them in returning
to their home communes and continues to facilitate their
reintegration.  After the coup in Burundi, the number of refugees
wishing to repatriate to Rwanda has risen steadily.  During the first
two weeks of August, more than 23,000 refugees had voluntarily
repatriated.  The rise in repatriation was due to several factors,
including a general feeling of insecurity among the refugee community
about their fate in Burundi; the coup d'e'tat and the generally
unpredictable situation that will follow; the economic sanctions on
Burundi and their possible consequences on the care and maintenance
activities in the camps; and UNHCR's steady flow of information
related to the monitoring and assistance to returnees to Rwanda and
the reasonably stable situation in Rwanda.

51.  In the meantime, conflicts in the Cibitoke province and to a
lesser extent in Bubanza province have not abated, and an average of
some 500 Burundi refugees per day from those provinces continue to
cross to the southern Kivu area of Zaire, although both sides of the
border have been closed by the Burundi and Zairian authorities.

52.  In view of the situation in Burundi and in spite of the closed
border, the United Republic of Tanzania continues to receive new
arrivals.  At the beginning of 1996, the United Republic of Tanzania
permitted the entry of some 30,000 Rwandan refugees and Burundi
asylum-seekers.  As of 31 July 1996, the number of new arrivals had
reached a total of 22,838 Rwandan refugees and 25,517 Burundi
asylum-seekers.  The Tanzanian authorities have identified sites in
the Kagera and Kigoma regions where new arrivals are accommodated. 
The United Republic of Tanzania continues to exercise flexibility on
humanitarian grounds and has allowed some refugees who managed to
cross the border to remain in the country. UNHCR has been in constant
touch with the Tanzanian authorities to address some reported cases of
expulsion at the border with Burundi.

53.  In February, Zaire launched an operation to progressively close
some selected camps in North and South Kivu.  A total of only 1,200
refugees from Kibumba and Nyangezi camps opted to repatriate under
UNHCR auspices.  The Government of Zaire, in cooperation with UNHCR
and in the context of the tripartite commission and the Bujumbura Plan
of Action are reviewing its approaches to repatriation, including the
reorganization and consolidation of some camps in order to reactivate
voluntary repatriation.

54.  In pursuance of the recommendation contained in the Bujumbura Plan
of Action, UNDP and UNHCR organized a consultative meeting of donors
and countries hosting refugees, held at Geneva on 24 January 1996, on
assistance to areas adversely affected by large numbers of refugees. 
A $70.5 million short-term assistance package was presented to help
repair damage to the environment and infrastructure.  The
international community's response has so far been limited.

                               5.  North Africa

55.  The Security Council adopted resolution 1042 on 31 January 1996,
extending the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western
Sahara mandate until 31 May 1996.  As recommended in a UNHCR technical
team mission report of February 1995, UNHCR continued updating the
1991 repatriation plan and the draft budget for the repatriation of an
estimated 105,000 persons.  UNHCR continues its assistance programme
of $3.5 million for 80,000 of the most vulnerable refugees among the
estimated total of 165,000.  Pending confirmation of progress achieved
in implementing the United Nations Settlement Plan, UNHCR will
continue with the required preparations that can be undertaken at this

                         C.  Inter-agency cooperation

                                 1.  Overview

56.  UNHCR has a specific mandate to protect and assist refugees,
returnees and in certain cases, internally displaced persons.  Those
populations are nevertheless a growing proportion of the target
beneficiaries of UNDP, UNICEF and WFP programmes, under the
coordination of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, in countries
in crisis or emerging from conflict.

57.  During the period covered by the present report, the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs on behalf of the United Nations system and in
pursuit of its humanitarian coordination function under General
Assembly resolution 46/182, issued coordinated appeals for emergency
assistance to populations affected by political and humanitarian
crises in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Sudan and the Great Lakes

58.  WFP continues to be an essential part of the response to meeting
the food needs of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons
in Africa.  The memorandum of understanding between WFP and UNHCR,
which is considered to be a successful example of inter-agency
coordination, is continually upgraded through periodic review and

59.  In March 1996, UNICEF and UNHCR signed a memorandum of
understanding that delineates areas of collaboration aimed at
complementarity in assisting refugees, returnees, internally displaced
persons and affected host populations.  The agreement will enhance the
long-standing cooperation between the two agencies, especially in
emergency preparedness and in response to the particular needs of
children and women.  In addition, UNICEF has assisted the Inter-Agency
Task Force on Internally Displaced Persons in developing a database to
collect accurate information on the number, composition, health,
nutrition and educational statistics of displaced populations. 
Moreover, it will assist in maintaining information on the Reliefweb
about the internally displaced, a new facility that will be
instrumental in improving the exchange of information.

60.  WFP is in the process of negotiating memoranda of understanding
with several non-governmental organizations and United Nations
partners, including UNICEF, with a view to clarifying the division of
responsibilities among partners.

61.  The voluntary repatriation programme in Mozambique is a recent
example of cooperation between UNDP and UNHCR in a number of countries
in Africa with projects focusing on multisectoral needs to assist in
the rehabilitation of returnees and the development of entire
communities to which the formerly displaced have returned.

62.  Similarly, UNHCR cooperation with the International Committee of
the Red Cross and IOM has advanced both quantitatively and
qualitatively, with an increase in the volume of joint activities. 
The ties with the non-governmental organizations community have been
greatly strengthened by increased joint operational activities on
behalf of refugees, returnees and especially internally displaced

                             2.  Relief assistance

63.  Current UNDP programming in Africa for uprooted populations is
budgeted at $60 million, while in 1995, WFP delivered 800,000 tons of food to
some 5.6 million refugees and 6.6 million internally displaced persons in
sub-Saharan Africa.  UNHCR and WFP support for care and maintenance
continued for refugees and displaced victims of civil conflict in the
Rwanda/Burundi regional operation, including the United Republic of
Tanzania and Zaire; the Liberia regional operation, including Co^te
d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea; Somalia; southern Sudan; Ethiopia;
Kenya; and Uganda.  Stabilization of the political situation allowed a
shift from relief to first-phase reconstruction and rehabilitation
activities in Angola, Ghana, Rwanda, Somalia and Mozambique, and
repatriation from Benin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ghana,
Mauritania and the Sudan.

64.  United Nations agencies are continually adapting their structures
to better respond to the needs for rehabilitation and development in
areas where internally displaced persons or refugees return or settle. 
For example, UNDP has set up new programming guidelines for countries
in special development situations, which were approved by its
Executive Board in May 1996.  The new framework will use special
resources and simplified procedures in crisis and post-crisis
situations, as well as in pre-crisis situations and sudden natural
disasters.  Support will also be increased for the role of the
resident coordinator in facilitating collaborative inter-agency
responses to situations in which large-scale population displacement
takes place.

65.  The focus of UNICEF is on work with women and children in their
country of origin, and its presence often precedes the emergence of
crises resulting in forced displacement.  Displacement and family
break-up make women and children particularly vulnerable, and while
displaced persons living in camps can be reached easily with basic
services, those who are dispersed among supporting communities need to
be catered for through specific programme support activities.

66.  WFP explores the earliest possible opportunities for developmental
uses of relief food assistance, even in the context of a continuing
emergency.  It attempts to rebuild self-sufficiency in addition to
sustaining lives.

                             3.  Capacity-building

67.  Supporting national structures for the coordination of
humanitarian assistance in order for Governments to adequately deal
with the consequences of population displacement is among the
priorities set by United Nations agencies. UNHCR, through its
UNHCR-Non-Governmental Organizations Partnership in Action process,
strongly emphasizes capacity-building in humanitarian work and
increased involvement of local non-governmental organizations.  In
Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, the Sudan, Sierra Leone and Zaire, UNDP has
set up programmes that assist Governments with the management of aid
or the execution of programmes aimed at displaced persons.  In
Mozambique, UNDP and UNHCR are jointly promoting district development
mapping of 35 priority districts with high numbers of returned
refugees and internally displaced persons.

                              4.  Demobilization

68.  Successful reintegration of ex-combatants is a key to peace
processes and helps avert future displacement.  UNDP is running
assistance programmes for ex-combatants or demobilized soldiers in
areas of return in Angola, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and

                         5.  Mine clearance programmes

69.  Mine clearance programmes also support formerly displaced
populations.  UNDP is currently supporting demining operations in
Angola, Chad and Mozambique.

                                6.  Environment

70.  In such countries as Malawi, the United Republic of Tanzania and
Zaire, large concentrations of people in camps have caused land
degradation, water contamination and deforestation, further
undermining the long-term food security of displaced people and host
communities alike.  Both UNHCR and WFP are putting more emphasis on
fuel-conserving measures.  Where resources permit, fuel-efficient
stoves are distributed or constructed, and milled cereals that require
less time and effort in preparation and cooking are provided.  In
Kenya, the distribution of small milling implements to each refugee
household is under consideration.  Coal cookers are already in use in
the Kakuma camp in Kenya.  Food for work is used to support soil
conservation measures, such as tree-planting, in Mauritania and Kenya.

71.  In response to a recommendation in the Bujumbura Plan of Action,
UNHCR and UNDP held a consultative meeting at Geneva on 24 January
1996 of donors and host countries to review assistance to areas
adversely affected by large numbers of refugees in the Great Lakes
region.  A $70.5 million short-term assistance package was presented
to help repair damage to the environment and infrastructure of the
areas hosting refugees.  The response from the international community
has so far been limited.

                D.  Cooperation with subregional organizations

72.  The Organization of African Unity (OAU) is a traditional partner,
with which the quality of cooperation is being increasingly enhanced. 
Joint efforts aimed at addressing the consequences of forced
population displacement in the Great Lakes region within the framework
of the Plan of Action agreed at an OAU/UNHCR-sponsored international
conference in Bujumbura in February 1995 further strengthened the
relationship between the two organizations.  In addition to regular
contacts with the OAU Refugee Bureau and the Commission of Twenty on
Refugees, areas of cooperation include the implementation of the
recommendations of an OAU/UNHCR symposium on refugees held in 1994 and
the development of a new bilateral agreement updating the one signed
in 1969.

73.  At the subregional level, the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), ECOWAS and, in the Horn of Africa, IGAD, are
becoming important points of reference for humanitarian initiatives in
their regions of activity.

74.  UNHCR continues to cooperate closely with SADC in areas of mutual
concern, such as population movements in the region.  To that end, a
memorandum of understanding outlining the responsibilities of both
organizations as well as areas of cooperation was signed on 25 July
1996.  Earlier, UNHCR participated in a SADC conference on social
development held in Swaziland from 25 to 28 March 1996; the conference
sought to strengthen social development activities, including
assistance to refugees, in southern Africa.

75.  The 1992 Declaration made by heads of State at the Horn of Africa
Humanitarian Summit clearly recognized that the future socio-economic
development of the region depends to some degree upon the resolution
of humanitarian problems, recognizing that unless Governments address
humanitarian problems on an urgent basis they cannot hope to make
progress in solving other equally critical problems that require
concerted action.  The decision at the end of March 1996 by the IGAD
summit to revitalize and enlarge Governments' cooperation, including
in the humanitarian sphere, provides an opportunity to begin to
implement the 1992 Declaration.  UNHCR is closely cooperating with
IGAD in the search for durable solutions to forced displacement.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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