In 2021, it is anticipated that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly the Kasai regions, will remain unpredictable with intra-communal conflicts and political disputes requiring continuous monitoring, emergency preparedness and strong early warning systems.
The asylum space across the country remains challenging given the drawbacks of the national refugee status determination procedures and limitations in the reception of new arrivals. The Government of Angola suspended the registration and documentation of people of concern many years ago, the resumption of which would improve the protection environment and access to rights and solutions not only for approximately 35,000 asylum-seekers with pending asylum claims but also for those who remain unregistered or undocumented. In 2021, UNHCR will continue to advocate for the resumption of registration and documentation, in line with commitments made by the Government of Angola at the Global Refugee Forum as well as through implementation of the national Refugee Law and procedures.
In 2021 UNHCR will also focus on the implementation of pledges made by the Angolan Government to accede to the statelessness conventions.
The voluntary repatriation of refugees was suspended in 2020 due to logistic challenges as well as the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the closure of the Angolan borders. In 2021, around 1,000 individuals are expected to opt for voluntary repatriation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo if conditions are conducive for a safe and dignified return.
The Government of Angola contributes significantly to the assistance provided to refugees in Lunda Norte Province by providing land for the Lóvua settlement, supporting birth registration and voluntary repatriation, as well as ensuring the security and safety of refugees in the settlement. In 2021, this support is expected to continue. The Government of Angola is also responsible for registering and documenting urban refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as for conducting the refugee status determination and providing avenues for local integration. In 2021, UNHCR seeks to strengthen its cooperation with the Government through targeted projects aimed at addressing jointly the backlog of asylum claims, the challenges in reception of new arrivals, as well as in furthering opportunities for local integration.
COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures will remain a major priority in 2021 and will be implemented in line with the Government guidance. Refugees in Luanda and the Lóvua Settlement will continue to be included and actively contribute to the prevention and response efforts.
In 2021, UNHCR will focus on:
- Improving access and quality of refugee status determination procedures by strengthening the current national asylum system and regulatory framework to achieve consistency with international standards, while enhancing the quality of refugee registration and documentation aiming at facilitating the access to services, assistance, social protection, self-reliance and durable solutions.
- Supporting the Government in resuming refugee registration and documentation for both urban and camp-based people of concern, in line with the Global Refugee Forum pledges.
- Developing the capacity of law enforcement officials, border guards, other government officials and civil society actors to ensure effective protection-sensitive reception and referral mechanisms for those in need of international protection across the country.
- Expanding outreach activities and strengthening community self-management initiatives, particularly through community-based networks, both in the Lóvua Settlement and urban communities.
- Supporting the Government to implement its Global Refugee Forum pledges and attain an effective and operational national plan for the eradication of statelessness while ensuring the implementation of UNHCR’s strategy to identify and prevent the risks of statelessness.