United Nations High Commission for Refugees acting country representative Chansa Kapaya has applauded Tanzania for taking an exemplary lead in generously sheltering and assisting refugees.
She was speaking at the World Refugee commemoration held in Dar es Salaam saying the country has hosted one of the largest refugee populations (over half a million) in Africa and through the years has shown a remarkable leadership role in the region.
The envoy praised Tanzania for playing key roles in promoting peace and stability while bearing the extraordinary task of deciding to naturalise 162,000 Burundian refugees in 2010 after they spent over 40 years in the country.
She added that thanks to the government’s proactive approach to finding durable solutions and with UNHCR’s support, the number of refugees hosted in Tanzania has decreased significantly over the years to just about 134,940 with over 500,000 having returned home.
More than 42 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities. Of these more than a million fled their countries in the last 18 months alone due to waves of conflicts.
Albert Kacou, United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator said men, women and children are forced to abandon their homes under “…all manner of tragic circumstances…” this occurs in all corners of earth he said, adding that the displaced populations find refuge in countries like Tanzania.
“We must work together to mobilize the political will and leadership to prevent and end the conflicts that trigger refugee flow. We must address the underlying causes of conflict, allowing refugees to return home and have reliable access to welfare services and the rule of law,” the Tanzanian UN representative encouraged.
He urged countries not to turn away the needy despite their homes, adding that refugees leave because they have no choice.
“We must choose to help them. We are joining other countries’ offices in issuing the rallying cry of ‘One Person Forced to Flee is too many’. We have to commit ourselves on salvaging their lives so that they can rebuild, return to normalcy and move forward”
Kacou disclosed that four of five refugees are in developing countries and have benefited from the remarkable generosity of host countries that themselves face serious deprivations of which the Islamic Republic’s of Pakistan and Iran host the largest number of refugees with over two and half million between them.
“The responsibility of coming to the aid of refugees is a shared one, not only because it is necessary but also because it is the right thing to do” he said.