The Assistant High Commissioner for operations stated in the opening of the Standing Committee on Monday 3 March that the refugee situation today is one of the most challenging ones that they have had to face. Norway is very concerned about the situation in The Horn of Africa in light of Kenya’s return policy, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, Eritrea and their massive increase of refugees, and the situation in Syria.
It was also stated that the security issues in South-Sudan makes it very difficult for humanitarian workers to be in the field. There are several blockades that hinder the humanitarian actors, such as the UNHCR, to get through to the poorly accessible areas. This results in that humanitarian teams only reaches the “safe” areas, therefore large exposed areas stands still of humanitarian help. The security situation has also forced humanitarian actors to flee from large refugee operations. This has worsened the situation; it has led to an increase in deaths, spread of diseases, and violence. Norway is particularly worried about the fate of the refugees in Yida and Maban housing refugees from South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.
Norway stated that it is crucial that the UN-organizations and sectors cooperate on complementing each other’s activities to get the most comprehensive response.
Read Norway’s full statement on the Overview of global operations and Africa here.
Regarding the Middle East and North Africa overview Norway stated that “Norway is deeply concerned about the continued lack of access for humanitarian actors to many areas in Syria and the restrictions enforced on humanitarian agencies by the Syrian Government and parts of the fragmented opposition. Full and timely access to all people in need, for both assistance and protection, is what is required.” Read the full statement here.
Norway also held a statement regarding the western Balkan refugees and stated that “Norway supports the approach of further consultation with the countries in the region on the cessation of refugee status for refugees from the 91-95 conflict”. Read the full statement on the overview on Europe here.
In addition to this there were also discussions about the humanitarian situations in Africa, The Americans, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, The Middle East and North Africa, and UNCHR’s programme on budgets and funding.