Responding to questions on the eve of the World Refugee Day in Freetown over the weekend, the UNHCR Country Representative in Sierra Leone Valentine Tapsoba maintained that, they are aware of the problem of recycling refugees but that a data base device was now in place to verify and trap any recycled refugee.
He said the data base will take inventory of names of people and family members so that any refugee who attempts to recycle themselves to attract more resettlement package would be spotted and ignored.
He said World Refugee Day on June 20th every year is also an opportunity for UNHCR to spread awareness about refugees and other displaced people and to raise funds for their operations in conflict countries.
This year he said with the world economic crisis threatening to slash aid budgets and amid enormous global uncertainty they need to ensure that refugees are not forgotten, adding that this year’s theme: ‘Real People Real Needs’ must be recognized.
He said from the millions of people who are forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and natural disasters, everyone has a story to tell and they are real people with real needs just like any human being.
He said a comprehensive global needs assessment of refugees and other people cared for by the UN refugee agency revealed that 30% were unmet- a third of them in basic and essential services.
He stated that Improvement to nutrition, and water supplies , access to primary health care , strengthened child protection programmes , better protection for women from sexual violence and abuse , and improvement in living conditions and sanitation facilities are just some of the needs that are not being met world wide.
“On this World Refugee Day , we ask you to remember the millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people under our care who are struggling with their day to day lives . one thing connects them all : basic needs that must be met so they have chance to rebuild their lives.
On the issue of environmental situation , the country representative said UNHCR has a lot of food trees and other kinds of trees they give to refugees free to plant in order to protect the environment against ant natural disaster, backed by adequate education and awareness raising among refugees on the dangers of environmental degradation because refugees are usually settled in isolated localities where their economic and domestic activities might impact negatively on the environment .
By Solomon Rogers