Dlamini Zuma praises UN's refugee commission

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Geneva - South Africa's Home Affairs Minster Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has paid tribute to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for its wok in protecting displaced people worldwide.

Dlamini Zuma acknowledged the body for its role in diligently delivering the protection and assistance to the refugees.

UNHCR played a crucial role in addressing the needs of refugees in South Africa when the country experienced incidents of xenophobic attacks last year.

The minister said it was critical to note that the financial crisis and the resultant economic recession will not be escaped by the vulnerable refugees.

"The majority of refugees like the poor have little or no savings to cushion them from the economic problems.

"As the economies shed jobs and increase unemployment obviously the refugees will also be disproportionately affected since a lot of them may have no skills," she told the UNHCR executive committee meeting, on Monday.

The crisis was likely to increase the vulnerability of women, children and those with disabilities. "We must pay special attention to the vulnerable groups especially during this time of the global economic problems," added Dlamini Zuma.

She called on the UNHCR and other relevant agencies and partners to respond to the plight of women, girls, refugees and those with disabilities.

The minister further pointed out that the recent UN General Assembly has contributed somewhat to the broader understanding of the "responsibility to protect" noted efforts, especial to prevent people from becoming refugees.