UNHCR Regional Update – Southern Africa Operational Update (1 – 30 November 2021)


16 Days of Activism: Campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) was launched and will continue into December.

Durable solutions: Voluntary repatriation was facilitated across the region, while resettlement travel and case processing continued.

COVID-19: Initiatives to address vaccine hesitancy were scaled up, as emergence of Omicron variant triggered rise in infection rates.

Operational context: Key developments

Escalating violence and insecurity in parts of DRC and Mozambique: In the DRC, clashes between armed groups along with attacks against civilians including killings, abductions, and burning of houses has led to new displacement in recent weeks. This includes more than 800 reported displaced households following violence in the Fizi Highlands and in Shabunda territory, South Kivu Province, where UNHCR has provided core relief items.

Attacks by armed groups against civilians including IDPs in Djugu territory, Ituri Province, and in Beni and Lubero territories, North Kivu Province, have also resulted in displacement and humanitarian needs. At the same time, access has been increasingly difficult due to the security situation. Meanwhile, in Mozambique, Niassa Province has reportedly seen an escalation in violence and insecurity, including kidnappings, burning of homes, and robberies. At the same time, non-state armed groups remain active in Cabo Delgado Province, with reports of attacks on villages in late November in Macomia district, which resulted in deaths and abductions.

Durable solutions: In support of durable solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers, UNHCR continued to facilitate voluntary repatriation across the region, while continuing to pursue resettlement opportunities. By the end of November, resettlement submissions by the South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO) stood at 867 individuals submitted to seven resettlement countries, with 80 individuals departed in 2021 primarily to Europe, Canada, and Australia. In addition, 656 individuals have been supported to repatriate since beginning of the year, mainly from South Africa and Botswana. In Zambia, following a Return Intention Survey conducted among Congolese refugees in Mantapala refugee settlement, preparations for voluntary repatriation have started for an initial 300 refugees.

Meanwhile, 681 refugees have departed Zambia between January and November on resettlement to Europe,

United States and Canada, including LGBTQI individuals who lived for a year at a safe house in Lusaka. In the DRC, between January and November, UNHCR and partners facilitated voluntary returns for a total of 13,141 individuals, including 4,255 Central African refugees from North and South Ubangi provinces, as well as 1,590 Rwandan and 7,296 Burundian refugees from North and South Kivu.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees