Building peace in the minds of men and women

African exodus: a dramatic problem of 150,000 refugees

During recent years, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the League of Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun Societies have been carrying out a number of joint operations. From 1957 onwards they gave relief and maintenance to the Algerian refugees in Morocco and Tunisia, an operation which ended with a repatriation movement to which both organizations lent active assistance. Elsewhere in Africa, in Togo, UNHCR and the League joined in giving relief to a small group of exiles needing reestablishment. In the Congo (Leopoldville) an operation was undertaken in 1961 to help over 100,000 refugees from Angola who could be settled locally. At present, UNHCR and the League are trying to solve the problem of the refugees from Rwanda in the Kivu Province. Parallel to this action, UNHCR has been taking an interest in the Rwanda refugee situation in Uganda, Tanganyika and Burundi. (On July I, 1962, the Trusteeship territory, Ruanda-Urundi, administered by the Belgian Government until June 30, 1962, became independent as two sovereign statesRwanda and Burundi).

In all these undertakings, the two organizations plan and work together at all levels. The League relies on support from its national societies and accepts the responsibility for storing and distributing relief and, in some cases, the coordination of activities in the field. UNHCR for its part maintains liaison with governments, seeks funds for projects from governmental and private sources, and delegates "Chargés de Mission" who work in close co-operation with League operational personnel in the areas concerned. Both organizations are of a non-political and a purely humanitarian character.

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January 1963