UN and partner agency need 21 million to help Angolan refugees return

Although the large-scale voluntary repatriation operation of Angolan refugees ended in 2007, about 146,000 of them remain in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zambia, nearly 10 years after the end of Angola’s civil war.Many of the refugees in the DRC and Zambia still live in camps and depend on humanitarian assistance, Jemini Pandya, spokesperson for IOM, told reporters in Geneva.Over the past few weeks, 124 refugees from two camps in Zambia have been assisted home by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM. Nearly 9,000 Angolans out of more than 25,000 in Zambia have so far expressed a desire to return home.UNHCR has begun mass information campaigns to enable refugees to make an informed decision on returning to Angola.The two organizations will work together on the operation, which includes assisting refugees obtain documentation and the provision of medical screening, shelter and other humanitarian assistance at way stations and transit centres in the host countries. IOM will transport the refugees and their belongings to Angola by road or air, while in the DRC, it will also provide technical support to immigration authorities at the main land border points between the two countries.The Angolan Ministry for Social Welfare and Reintegration, which is coordinating the Angolan voluntary repatriation operation with UNHCR and IOM, will provide returnees with reintegration kits, including construction and agricultural tools and items for income-generating activities as well as a three-month food ration which IOM will distribute.UNHCR will monitor the returns, address any protection issues that may occur and work with authorities on issuance of civil documents. 12 July 2011The United Nations refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today launched an appeal for $21 million to help some 60,000 Angolan refugees return home this year and next. read more