The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has lauded the Ayade-led Government of Cross River State for its support towards ameliorating the plight of refugees in the state.
UNHCR’s Senior Protection Officer, Ntampaka Clarisse made the commendation at the World Refugee Day, held at the Conference Hall of Channel View Hotel, Calabar.
The UNHCR representative said,” the World Refugee Day is a moment during the year to reflect on the fact that millions of families are living far from their homes, leaving everything behind- because of war or persecution.”
He said Nigeria was hosting over 36, 000 Cameroonian refugees in Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River State and Taraba; meanwhile Cross River State alone hosts over 27,000 Cameroonian refugees, making it approximately 75 percent of the refugees in Nigeria.
The UNHCR representative pointed out that local authorities and host communities in Cross River State had been exemplary in their support to refugees in their communities and the World Refugee Day was an opportunity to appreciate the efforts of host communities and the Federal Government of Nigeria in welcoming and assisting Cameroonian refugees.
According to UNHCR, an estimated 70 million people are refugees, or have been displaced by violence in their own countries and every region of the world is impacted in some way and today a volatile mix of political, environmental, economic, ethnic and territorial factors often combine to ignite conflicts.
Talking on the theme for this year’s World Refugee Day ‘Step With Refugees’, Clarisse stated that no step was too small, challenging people from all walks of life to unite in their efforts to choose inclusion over exclusion and see the need for integration of refugees as assets and not burden to the society.
She maintained that the spirit of participation and shared responsibility enshrined in the UN Global Compact on Refugees, marked a new era of international cooperation and provides a blueprint for better responses; not only humanitarian emergency responses, but also in terms of development to ensure longer term stability in all regions, stressing, “we appreciate your contribution, collaboration and support in the response to the Cameroon refugee situation.”
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar