Humanitarian CrisesNews

UN Refugee Coordinator Commends Cameroon’s Treatment Of CAR Refugees

Central African Republic refugees are finding a home in Cameroon, as efforts intensify to support them and their hosts.

The Resident-Coordinator of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Cameroon has expressed satisfaction at the generosity of the government and people of Cameroon towards Central African Republic refugees living in Cameroon.

Matthias Naab, who was speaking Wednesday after a meeting in Yaounde with Paul Atanga Nji, Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, said he was “particularly touched by the generosity and the hospitality of the government and the people of Cameroon to our fellow brothers and sisters from the Central African Republic.”

“I was impressed with the communal coexistence between refugees and host communities. But at the same time, I was also touched by the needs that were expressed by not only the refugees but also by the host communities.”

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon said his audience with the Minister of Territorial Administration was a follow-up meeting to that of Sept. 2020, which he said was intended for him to get guidance from the minister on how the UN and Cameroon would move forward in tackling the refugee problems in the country.

“I also took the opportunity to thank the Minister and to brief him on my visit to the East Region. I went two and a half weeks ago on my first official visit to the East to see the refugee situation in the East,” Naab said.

“There, I was also impressed, and I took the opportunity today to also brief the Minister about my impressions of the situation in the East.”

He revealed that “the UN Humanitarian country team is working very closely with the government in all the sectors to see how we can respond briskly and quickly to the needs of the region as a whole but also the needs of the vulnerable populations in the refugee camps but also in the host communities.”

According to ACAPS, a non-profit project of three NGOs – the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps – Cameroon hosts the largest refugee population from the Central African Republic.

ACAPS reports that Cameroon hosts 290,000 refugees from the Central African Republic, mainly located in the East and Adamaoua regions.

“Many have been displaced for several years, including 45,000 people who have been in Cameroon for more than 10 years. Over 70 per cent of Central African Republic refugees are staying with host communities, putting significant pressure on already limited resources and service,” the nonprofit consortium stated.

The refugees are dependent on humanitarian assistance, with education, health, food, protection, shelter and livelihood opportunities reported as priority needs.

With refugees and the host community sharing access to drinking water, fields, and social services such as education and health, there is a need for more support.

Nearly 5,000 people have recently arrived in Garoua-Boulaï from the Central African Republic due to violence related to the Dec. 27, 2020, legislative and presidential elections. This has made the situation dire at the moment.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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