UNECA chief urges concerted efforts as Africa hosts close to 23 mln refugees

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-09 13:10:33|Editor: Chengcheng
Video PlayerClose

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe, on Friday urged concerted efforts to help refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the Africa.

"If we are to put the numbers into perspective, 23 million refugees represent twice the population of Tunisia, it is close to the population of Ivory Coast," Songwe said, which lift a huge burden for Africa currently.

Songwe made the remarks during her speech at the 34th African Union (AU) Executive Council meeting, which is underway at the headquarters of the pan-African bloc under the theme of "Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa."

Songwe in particular urged African leaders to collectively address issues affecting displaced youth on the continent.

"The moral question is, how do we as a Union create the Africa we want if without shame or humiliation we let our youth, our young women lament in camps," the UNECA chief asked African leaders.

"How do we as a Union raise our voices with indignation about the treatment of our youth as they flee the continent and are rejected on foreign shores if without conscience or creed we deprive them of peaceful residence in their own countries? The basic right of every citizen," she stressed.

During the two-day meeting, the executive council is expected to consider key recommendations on the condition of African refugees, returnees and IDPs, ahead of the session of the AU assembly of heads of state and government, as African leaders are set to gather at the AU headquarters on Feb. 10-11.