United Nation’s special envoy lauds SA’s refugee programme

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South Africa’s programme to integrate Somali refugees and asylum seekers has been lauded by the United Nation’s special envoy for the Somali Refugee Situation.

Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey addressed the media in Pretoria on Thursday. South Africa has the biggest Somali refugee contingent in Southern Africa, with about 30 000.

He says other African states should copy the way South Africa has helped refugees to integrate into societies instead of keeping them in refugee camps.

Affey says he met with leader of the Somali refugee community as well as the deputy minister of Home Affairs.

“Actually the hospitality of the South African people and government for giving some security for refugees leaving their homes in their countries of origin, for giving them safety and for giving them an opportunity to rebuild their lives and we came to appreciate that. Secondly, South Africa is a natural leader in this part of the world particular in Africa and there are good examples that African countries hosting refugees can learn from.”