When Idi Amin toppled the socialist government of Tanzania in 1971, he was known as a hardliner who quickly dismissed the office of the director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). His move started a mass repatriation of refugees from Tanzania to Uganda.
“With such an abrupt procedure and a completely dishonest refugee director of UNHCR, a lot of refugees lost their confidence in their ability to sustain their families in Tanzania and only 20 years later they wanted to be returned home,” said William Swing, the then director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Subsequently, Guédrago Guevara, president of the International Refugee Organization, denounced Amin’s move, declaring, “I will not support you because you have violated the principle of asylum. You have signed a petition attacking the United Nations.”
“For me, this is the low point,” he continued. “To eliminate the UNHCR and return the refugees to their homelands even before their repatriation has been discussed in the refugee agency is completely unacceptable.”
Guevara also urged the repatriation of 700,000 Ethiopians and one million Hutus from neighboring Sudan, citing threats of violence against their nationals in Ethiopia and possible forced resettlement in Sudan.
Myanmar caused refugees from the two countries to leave or remain in exile. The top U.N. refugee chief, António Guterres, said his office last year concluded that “political violence, while reduced in scale, remains a major danger to lives, liberty and security.”
“This is an alarming regression in our collective capacity to address the root causes of the crisis,” he added.
Algiers: Mass rape cases continue to surface
The number of refugees sheltering in Algeria has reached one million, according to experts from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The inter-linked crises in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, as well as the changing priorities of the host countries are to blame for the rising number of refugees, they said.
According to the experts, the most recent cases of rape in places where people were housed in camps were detected in early June, notably in Kassala in DR Congo.
In the city’s eastern suburbs, according to local authorities, 25 women were sexually abused in the last few weeks. Between Jan. 1 and June 17, no fewer than 654 cases of rape were reported to Algerian authorities from the country’s westernmost province, in addition to 1,412 cases in its eastern sector.
Crimes against refugee women and children, perpetrated by those in authority, are undoubtedly common in Algeria, the experts said.