Thousands of refugees are returning to their home country of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

A general view of Lovua Refugee Settlement in Angola, March 2018 A general view of Lovua Refugee Settlement in Angola, March 2018 UNHCR/Omotola Akindipe

23 August 2019

DRC Kasai region security is gradually improving and, as a result, thousands of refugees are leaving Angola in order to return to DRC.

Violence and clashes in DRC are negatively affecting the internal situation in the country, with the most severe damage being inflicted on the Kasai region .

As a result,  a huge number of Congolese people have been forced to flee their homes and cross the border into Angola. With the slight improvement being observed in the Kasai region,  refugees have spontaneously started returning to the DRC.

Kasai region have been struggling with violence since August 2016 due to tensions between traditional chiefs and the government. In March 2017, clashes amplified between the government and armed groups. As a result, around 1. 4 million people have been displaced from their homes and approximately 37.000 people have crossed the border into Angola in the search for a safe place. Presidential elections, recent discussions between the visiting DRC officials and refugees and the upcoming academic year have contributed to improving Kasai security. The United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that one week ago 8.500 refugees had spontaneously left the Lovua settlement in Angola’s Lunda Norte province. “More than a thousand refugees have already crossed into DRC and many others are moving towards the border with DRC Kasai region” said Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UNHCR Office.

In order to guarantee as much security as possible, UNHCR has placed staff along the return routes to monitor, interview and to provide  help when necessary. Inside DRC, UNHCR is working with local authorities to monitor the border in order to evaluate the returns and to understand what kind of assistance is needed once the returnees arrive in their home country. In addition, the refugee agency, Angola and DRC are all taking part in a discussion which aims to guarantee a dignified, well-organized and sustainable return to all refugees. As no organised planning, transportation and assistance is currently in place, UNHCR is urging  both governments to refrain from creating dangerous situations that may negatively affect refugees.



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Author: Giulia Francescon; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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