Burkinabe families taking refuge in the Ivorian village of Tougbo after fleeing jihadist violence in their country, January 22, 2022. SIA KAMBOU / AFP
The Ivorian government adopted, on Wednesday June 8, a bill on asylum aimed at regulating the status of refugees arriving in the country, a text which fills a “void” in this area, according to the spokesperson for the Amadou Coulibaly government.
The text, which will have to be voted on in Parliament, will promote “the establishment of an effective asylum system”, indicated Mr. Coulibaly, at the end of the Council of Ministers.
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If the Constitution, in its article 23, already guarantees “the right of asylum for any person persecuted because of his political, religious, philosophical beliefs or his ethnicity”, no law existed until now.
“Our country did not have a text to regulate refugee status. There was a blur, this text fills this void, ”confirmed the government spokesperson, without developing the details of the text.
In the 1990s, Côte d’Ivoire hosted tens of thousands of refugees fleeing civil war in Liberia and Sierra Leone. “They were welcomed in villages, with locals, they had no status,” recalled Mr. Coulibaly.
Côte d’Ivoire is now once again faced with the arrival of refugees. Several thousand people are fleeing jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso for northern Côte d’Ivoire and are staying with villagers or in makeshift camps.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, is expected in Côte d’Ivoire from June 17 to 20, on the occasion of World Refugee Day.
The DRC, Burkina and Cameroon at the top of the “most neglected crises”
The ten most neglected crises in the world are all in Africa, according to the ranking of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
In the lead, as last year, is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): faced with the intensification of armed conflicts and inter-community tensions, 5.5 million Congolese are displaced in the country and 1 million have preferred to flee to the stranger. The NGO regrets the lack of media attention for this country at war for more than twenty years and “the absence of strong diplomatic commitment”.
In second place, Burkina Faso is registering one of the fastest displacement crises in the world, with nearly one in ten inhabitants forced to leave their homes because of attacks by jihadist groups since 2015 in the north and east. from the country. As the lean season approaches, from June to August, humanitarian actors are worried about a risk of famine in certain areas landlocked by violence, while 3 million Burkinabés are expected to suffer from hunger.
Insecurity, the effects of climate change and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic have also aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon, ranked third, where restrictions on access to information and arrests complicate the work of journalists. .
South Sudan, which experienced major floods in 2021 and where more than 60% of the population is expected to suffer from hunger during the next lean season, and Chad, where the rate of severe malnutrition in several regions exceeds the threshold emergency rate of 2% set by the World Health Organization (WHO), are entering the rankings. This also includes Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia.
In September 2021, the UNHCR recommended the end of the refugee status granted to Ivorians who had fled their country, in particular during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, considering that most of them no longer need protection. international.
Although the vast majority have already voluntarily returned to Côte d’Ivoire in recent years, some 51,000 people are still refugees in countries in the sub-region.
This measure is due to come into force on June 30 and people who consider themselves at risk will still be able to apply for an exemption to remain under UNHCR protection.
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