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Africa: High Commissioner visits

Briefing notes

Africa: High Commissioner visits

14 January 2000

The High Commissioner's address on African issues before the Security Council yesterday came amid renewed interest in the crucial issue of caring for the world's estimated 20-25 million internally displaced people.

This Sunday, the High Commissioner arrives in Tanzania to begin a 10-day, three-nation visit to some of the major refugee situations in the Great Lakes and Southern Africa Region. While in Tanzania, the High Commissioner will meet with senior government officials in Dar es Salaam and will also visit Karago Refugee Camp in Kibondo district. She departs Tanzania on Wednesday (19 January) for Pretoria, South Africa, where she will meet with South African President Thabo Mbeki and other officials. At the end of her South African visit on 23 January, Mrs. Ogata will travel to Lusaka, Zambia where she will meet senior government officials and visit Angolan refugees in camps in south-western Zambia. She is scheduled to depart Zambia on 25 January at the end of her ten-day Africa visit.

Burundi/Tanzania - The rate of arrival of Burundians into Tanzania has continued steadily, with nearly 1,000 people arriving in Tanzania every day. Since the beginning of the year, over 10,000 Burundian refugees have arrived into Kibondo district from communes in eastern Burundi and have been settled into a newly-opened site - Karago Refugee Camp. But within three weeks of its opening, Karago Camp has nearly reached half its capacity of 45,000 to 50,000. This situation in Tanzania is very worrying, particularly if the refugees continue to arrive at the rate we've seen over the past few weeks. UNHCR has utilised all sites allocated for refugees by the Tanzanian government. There are no additional sites even for contingencies. Options for the future settlement of newly-arriving Burundian refugees in Tanzania are very few and very costly.