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UNHCR issues ID cards to Congo's refugees

News Stories, 22 November 2002

© UNHCR/P. Kessler
Refugees from the Republic of Congo at an earlier registration in Kinkole camp, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

KIMAZA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 22 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency today started a massive operation to issue identity cards to refugees and asylum seekers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo (ROC), a move that could improve protection for some 440,000 people in the region.

Targeting all refugees and asylum seekers above the age of 14 in both countries, the joint effort between UNHCR and the two governments kicked off today in Kimaza, about 140 km west of the DRC's capital, Kinshasa. Some 2,000 refugees from the Republic of Congo currently hosted there will receive their ID cards in the next few days.

"It's important to have an identity document, particularly for security reasons. Not having an ID card means that a refugee can run into all kinds of problems and get questioned by the authorities," said Mohamed Dayri, Deputy Representative for Protection in UNHCR's regional office in Kinshasa.

"In the current regional situation where governments are becoming much more sensitive about security issues in their countries in relation to the presence of refugees, a joint registration programme with the governments will no doubt help to improve the legal protection of the refugees," he added.

In early December, the operation will move on to Pointe-Noire, ROC, before continuing in Lubumbashi, DRC.

Dayri said, "We would have hoped to have registered more refugees before the end of the year, but financial constraints forced us to limit the first phase of the operation to two host regions."

According to government estimates, there are some 440,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the two countries 330,000 in the DRC and 110,000 in the ROC. Angolans make up the majority of them in both countries. There are also some 75,000 Sudanese and 22,000 Rwandans hosted in the DRC. Most of the refugees in the two countries are located in areas bordering on Angola and its Cabinda enclave, with a large Sudanese refugee population in north-eastern DRC.

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UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

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