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Joint BNUB / MINUSCA / MONUSCO / ONUCA / UNMISS Press Release on World Refugee Day - 20 June 2014

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BANGUI, Central African Republic, June 20, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- One family torn apart by war in Central Africa is too many

Message of the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and for Central Africa, on World Refugee Day.

World Refugee Day 2014, we, the five Special Representatives of the Secretary-General in Central Africa, appeal to end violence in the region and encourage the Governments to tackle the root causes of conflict and displacement.

The global refugee population is at its highest level since World War II. The UN High Commissioner for Refugee's annual Global Trends report shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013. Major new displacement was seen in Africa, especially in the Central African Republic and in South Sudan.

The outbreak of violence in the Central African Republic led to the new internal displacement of more than 800,000 persons, as well as outflows of more than 88,000 into surrounding countries. In South Sudan the situation is also of grave concern, with more than 300,000 people having fled to neighbouring countries, and more than 1,3 million internally displaced, including close to 100,000 civilians within the bases of UNMISS. Around half a million DRC refugees are living in neighbouring countries and some three million persons are internally displaced. Burundi has successfully integrated more than 500,000 former refugees since 2002, while hosting more than 50,000 DRC refugees, and having some 80,000 Burundians living in displacement within their own country.

Today also marks the 40th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity's Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa which has allowed millions of people who fled violence and conflict to find safety in neighbouring countries in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts one-quarter of all refugees in the world.

United as One UN, we act for every refugee in Central Africa. In order to allow displaced people to return home, we need to join forces today, across the region. Together with the UNHCR and the whole UN family, our partners in Government and civil society can create durable peace and stability, with a safe home for everyone, for “One family torn apart by war is too many”. We call on all governments and parties in conflict in the region to cease all fighting and enable all refugees and displaced to return to their homes in safety and dignity.

Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)

Babacar Gaye, Special Representative and Head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated

Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)

Martin Kobler, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)

Hilde Johnson, Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS)

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB)