UN refugee agency seeks more resources for African refugees

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Monday called for more resources to help African refugees in 2019.

The comments by Filippo Grandi came during a two-day visit to Egypt where he met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other government officials.

His trip to Cairo also comes as Egypt prepares to assume the presidency of the African Union in February.

Grandi said “85 percent of the 68 million displaced and refugees are not in those countries of the global north but they are in the global south.”

It was now time to “draw resources to Africa,” he told a news conference, pointing out that those allocated to the continent were “limited”.

Grandi also noted that while Egypt hosts “a lot of refugees,” it is not fully recognized as a “refugee-hosting country”.

Egypt hosts more than 250,000 registered refugees, more than half of whom are Syrians, according to the UN refugee agency.

Grandi spoke about the goals of the Global Compact on Refugees adopted by 181 countries in December, saying it is “to mobilize not only humanitarian resources, but also development resources”.

He also voiced “concern” over the protests in Sudan, saying he fears displacement would occur if the situation deteriorates in the country.

“We hope the situation will stabilize in a peaceful manner,” he said.

For Syria, Grandi said about 50,000 refugees had returned to Syria in 2018.

“It’s a small number,” he said, adding that the number stood at 60,000 the year before.

“It is possible that with increased stability we can see more people going back. But it’s very difficult to say how many,” he said.