Refugees in Mauritania.. HCR and Korean Cooperation Agency Sign Financial Agreement

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An agreement was signed this Wednesday between the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Mauritania, to address the influx of refugees multiplied since the resumption of conflicts in northern Mali.

The agreement between KOICA and the HCR stipulates a budget allocation of 4 million dollars over three years in the Hodh Chargui region. Among the objectives are to enhance the integration of Malian refugees both inside and outside the camp and to support further the local populations hosting them.

This mission will be carried out through initiatives such as the implementation of income-generating ecological activities and support for community initiatives for local development.

“We have observed many good practices in this project, such as the existence of a large group of volunteers composed of refugees combating bushfires,” explains Hyewon Cho, representative of the Korean agency KOICA. She adds, “This activity and volunteerism is a good example of promoting sustainable livelihoods.”

These initiatives are crucial for Elizabeth Eyster, UNHCR representative in Mauritania, to preserve long-term social cohesion between refugees and host populations. According to the latest estimates, over 107,000 Malian refugees are currently hosted within the Mbera camp, and at least 80,000 outside the camp. Just in January, UNHCR recorded 14,000 arrivals outside the camp.

“We must remain vigilant to avoid conflicts,” comments Ms. Eyster, acknowledging that the “poor” region is also facing a “worrying climatic situation.” “Refugees should not be a burden on host populations. We will implement projects to minimize dependence on humanitarian aid with the perspective that refugees are contributors,” she elaborates.

Finally, in the long term, UNHCR has certain priorities, including community empowerment and improving access to basic services.

Soukaina Sghir

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