YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - The U.N.'s refugee chief, Filippo Grandi, on a visit to Cameroon this week, vowed to give more support to displaced Central Africans and Cameroonians fleeing intercommunal violence. Grandi spoke at a ministerial conference in Yaounde on helping refugees from the Central African Republic and during a visit to northern Cameroon.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said the U.N.'s refugee agency (the UNHCR) would step up support for nearly 1.4 million displaced Central Africans.
Grandi was speaking at a conference in Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, with ministers from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Sudan.
They are all countries with displaced people and refugees from the Central African Republic that have fled ongoing fighting back home since 2013.
The ministers pledged to continue to support ongoing reconciliation efforts in the CAR for peace to return to the troubled state so that IDPs and refugees can go home.
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), tours the Bogo IDP camp during a field visit in Maroua, Cameroon, April 28, 2022.
Grandi praised Cameroon, which hosts about half of the the CAR's refugees.
He says Cameroon is home to about half-a-million refugees from the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and other nationals who find hospitable reception and peace in the central African state. Grandi says he met with Cameroonian authorities and UNHCR partners to find ways of increasing and coordinating international aid to improve conditions for people displaced from their homes by crises.
The UNHCR says about 600,000 people are internally displaced in the Central African Republic, while another 700,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
Olivier Fafa Attidzah is the agency's representative in the CAR.
"They believe that they can find security once they get outside the Central African Republic, he says, especially coming to Cameroon and other neighboring countries like Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and South Sudan," Oliver expressed.
Ministers attending the Yaounde conference said less than 10 percent of the $226 million needed in 2022 to help displaced Central Africans had been raised.
They urged donor agencies and states to contribute more funds.
Meanwhile, Cameroon's territorial administration minister, Paul Atanga Nji, said President Paul Biya ordered his government to continue helping refugees in Cameroon.
Nji says Cameroon assists the UNHCR by providing free health care for all Central African refugees and free education for their children. Nji says Cameroon provides security for all refugees and land for the construction of refugee camps.
The U.N. says Cameroon also hosts more than 100,000 Nigerian refugees who fled Boko Haram terrorism.
U.N. refugee chief Grandi also visited Cameroon's northern border with Chad and met villagers who fled intercommunity violence between farmers, ranchers, and fishers in December.
The U.N. said more than 100,000 Cameroonians had fled over the border to Chad, where most remain.
Cameroonians displaced to the Bogo refugee camp said they would return to their villages but only after rival communities agree to peace.