UN agencies appeal to donors for $400 million to end cuts in refugee rations

The United Nations' refugee agency and its food relief programme today appealed to donors to give generously to alleviate a combined $400 million in funding shortages for 2005 that are forcing them to cut back survival rations for refugees in camps across Africa.

Afghanistan signs UN status of refugees convention

Afghanistan has signed the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, a significant sign of recovery for a country that used to be one of the world's largest producers of displaced persons, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

UN refugee agency asks states to respect access to asylum

The United Nations refugee agency today expressed consternation over the reported death earlier this week of a 17-year-old boy from Cameroon in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla and said all governments need to ensure that their immigration policies are carried out with respect for human rights.

In Sudan, UN refugee chief calls on world leaders to help rebuild shattered lives

Arriving in a small village in South Sudan after for seven days travelling throughout the country to spotlight the plight of 4.5 million people displaced by years of war, the head of the United Nations refugee agency has vowed to tell the political leaders of the world’s richest nations to do more to improve the lives of African people.

Chief of UN refugee agency will make 10-day visit to Sudan, Chad and Kenya

The United Nations refugee agency chief will make a 10-day visit to Sudan, Chad and Kenya, starting next Monday, visiting some of the camps which now house hundreds of thousands of the more than 6 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled Sudan’s civil strife, and meeting with senior Government officials.

Colombia: UN rights office condemns murder of four civilians, including priests

The United Nations human rights office in Colombia has condemned the murder of four civilians, including two priests, in a north-eastern region of the conflict-wracked country and called on the competent authorities to find and punish the perpetrators.

Burundi: Thousands of Rwandan refugees living in precarious conditions – UN

With some 5,400 Rwandans crowded into a Burundian transit centre built for only 800 people, the United Nations refugee agency today said it would take another two or three weeks to add enough sheds and sanitary facilities to house them all.

UN refugee agency announces new initiative with business sector to boost aid

Calling it “a virtuous circle,” the United Nations refugee agency today announced the formation of a Council of Business Leaders to boost its assistance to refugees and returnees, thus contributing to more stable societies, which in turn are clearly good for business.

UN refugee agency receives record pledges for 2005 at donors’ conference

A record number of States have pledged the highest-ever amount in advance – $405 million – for the United Nations refugee agency’s operations for 2005, allowing it to better plan its work in the coming year.

UN refugee agency criticizes Italy’s expulsion of African asylum seekers

The United Nations refugee agency today wrote to the Italian authorities criticizing the expulsion of a group of African asylum seekers at the centre of an international furore and voicing strong concern over the apparent disregard for accepted international and European standards and for the fundamental elements of due process.