AU: 25.2 million forcibly displaced in Africa

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FILE PHOTO: Somali women wait to collect water at the New Kabasa internally displaced camp in the northern Somali town of Dollow, Somalia, February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Somali women wait to collect water at the New Kabasa internally displaced camp in the northern Somali town of Dollow, Somalia, February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

The African continent is home to over 25.2 million forcibly displaced persons of which some 7.4 million are refugees and 17.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the African Union (AU) said on Wednesday.

Noting that Africa also hosts 484,000 asylum seekers and some 712,000 stateless persons, the AU said in a statement issued on Wednesday that forced displacement has continued to plague Africa over the years, largely triggered by intra-state conflicts, including inter-communal and ethnic violence, persecution as well as natural disasters.

According to the 55-member pan African bloc, the major drivers of forced displacements in Africa are attributed to factors including political uncertainties, incidents of human trafficking, erratic weather, floods and drought.

“Despite commendable efforts to address and manage forced displacement in Africa, displaced persons continue to experience abuse, exploitation, and violations,” the AU said, adding that a large number of displaced persons have remained in need of humanitarian assistance, finding themselves in “protracted situations where solutions have become illusory.”

It also stressed that although an increasing number of displaced persons currently are hosted in communities and located in an organized environment, the particular situation of women and children remain dire and access to key services considerably limited.

The pan African bloc made the statement on Wednesday during the opening session of a high-level meeting which provides a platform for reflection on the AU’s theme for the year 2019 “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”

The meeting, being held from Dec. 4 to 6, mainly envisaged to discuss current international, continental, regional and national normative, policy and institutional frameworks for forced displacement, it was noted.

The high-level dialogue also aspires to help create a common African approach in dealing with the consequences of forced displacement, according to the AU.

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