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UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - North Africa

UNHCR Fundraising Reports, 1 December 1998

In the North Africa region the general refugee situation remains stable with no emergencies developing. UNHCR monitors some 30,000 Palestinian refugees residing in the region, mostly in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Selected vulnerable refugees, including women, children and elderly refugees, are assisted by UNHCR on a case-by-case basis. UNHCR also assisted some 6,300 Malian refugees and 3,260 refugees from the Niger in repatriating to their countries of origin. Once the repatriation programme was completed in 1998, four refugee camps and the UNHCR Field Office in Tamanrasset were closed. In 1999, UNHCR expects to assist the voluntary repatriation of some 2,000 Somali refugees, mostly from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, to safe areas in their country of origin. Until they are repatriated, UNHCR will continue providing assistance to those living in the region's urban areas.

Algeria

The security situation in Algeria is of continuing concern to UNHCR. Appropriate measures have been taken to ensure the region is prepared in case a large number of Algerians seek asylum in neighbouring countries. While the security situation in Algeria imposes some restrictions on United nations staff and operations, the implementation of UNHCR's programmes is not substantially affected. All United Nations agencies, including UNHCR, have moved to a common office in Algiers.

An estimated 165,000 Saharan refugees live in Algeria. Pending their voluntary repatriation under the United Nations Settlement Plan, UNHCR provides assistance to some 80,000 vulnerable refugees in the four camps in the Tindouf area. Assistance includes income-generating activities for refugee women, education for refugee children, and the provision of supplementary food items (basic food is provided by the World Food Programme), shelter, health care, water supply and transport and logistics.

Coordination

Implementing partners in the region include the Red Crescent Societies, Oxfam and the United Nations Development Programme.

Budget US$

The budget does not include costs at Headquarters.

CountryGeneral ProgrammesSpecial ProgrammesTotal
Algeria2,542,000977,6773,519,677
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya1,540,5001,540,500
Mauritania253,800253,800
Morocco250,000185,571435,571
Tunisia280,000280,000
Western Sahara1,857,7151,857,715
Total4,612,5003,274,7637,887,263
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UNHCR Goodwill Envoy Khaled Hosseini visited Afghanistan in early September and saw first-hand one of the UN refugee agency's largest and most complex operations. During a 10-day trip, the best-selling author visited UNHCR projects and met returnees in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, Balkh, Parwan and Kabul. Hosseini, a former Afghan refugee now settled in the United States, noted that it would take time and effort for Afghanistan to provide returnees with adequate infrastructure and services. He urged the international community to remain committed to Afghanistan and to give the country time. Hosseini could not visit the south and parts of the east, where insecurity is impacting on the ability of UNHCR to assess needs and provide assistance to those who need it the most. Since 2003, UNHCR has helped more than 4 million refugees return to Afghanistan. This year, some 300,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan. More than 900,000 remain in Iran and 2 million in Pakistan.

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For over a quarter of a century, Afghanistan has been devastated by conflict and civil strife, with some 8 million people uprooted internally and in neighbouring countries. The overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 resulted in one of the largest and most successful return operations in history.

Seven years on, more than 5 million Afghan refugees have returned - increasing Afghanistan's population by an estimated 20 percent.The large majority have gone back to their areas of origin. However, some recent returnees are facing more difficulties as the country's absorption capacity reaches its limits in some areas. Last year, some Afghans returned before they were ready or able to successfully reintegrate due to the closure of refugee villages as well as the deteriorating conditions in Pakistan. In consequence, 30,000 Afghan refugees returned to further displacement in their homeland, unable to return to their villages due to conflict, lack of land, shelter materials, basic services and job opportunities. These challenges have been compounded elsewhere across the country by food insecurity and severe drought.

UNHCR and the Afghan Foreign Ministry highlighted the requirements for sustainable refugee return and reintegration at an international conference in Kabul in November 2008. The donor community welcomed the inclusion of refugee reintegration within the government's five-year national development strategy and the emphasis on land, shelter, water, sanitation, education, health care and livelihoods. It is anticipated that repatriation and reintegration will become more challenging in future.

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