UNHCR not deterred in humanitarian response, wants end to conflicts – Rep.
By Our Reporter
Aug. 19, 2020 – Ms Chansa Kapaya, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Nigeria has said the Agency is not deterred in rendering humanitarian interventions but want an end to Nigeria’s North-east conflict.
Kapaya made this known in an interview with the Humanitarian Post on Wednesday in Abuja in commemoration of the 2020 World Humanitarian Day.
Celebrating humanitarians in line with this year’s theme #RealLifeHeroes, Kapaya said "now more than ever, in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UNHCR would continue to do all it can to save lives.
“As humanitarian aid workers, we cannot stop, we have to do what we have to do.
“Yes there is the COVID-19 Pandemic which like it is going to be around for a while, but in the meantime, there are vulnerable people out there that need our help.
“For us, this is the time to stand in solidarity with these vulnerable people that need our desperate help.
“For UNHCR, we will stay and deliver, we will abide by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NCDC guidelines to ensure that with regards to COVID our Staff protect themselves, prevent themselves from the COVID.
“We try to also abide by the WHO/NCDC guidelines: the physical distancing, then mask-up, handwashing, and we will within that context continue to provide the services that we need to provide.
“Because stopping will result in immeasurable, continued sufferings of the people, so UNHCR is there to help as long as we are needed.
Kapaya said that as much as the UNHCR and its staff would want to continue interventions in the North-east, it would want an end to the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin and Sahel regions.
“We hope that we are not going to be in the North-east forever and as the United Nations, we prefer to go in and be out as shortest time as possible and hope that crises will end.
“And of course if there are other crises around the world they move to that, so, that for us is our hope for the long term.
“And in that regards, what we look forward to are solutions, solutions to these forced displacement situations, solutions to even the insurgency that is going on in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel.
“And our hope is that through the discussions, and peace negotiations that sooner than later, the insurgency will stop so that people could go back to their homes, areas of origins or their communities.
“Because unless the insurgency stops there is no end because people cannot go back to their communities, they cannot live in peace because without peace there is no end.
Speaking on the safety of humanitarian aid workers, she called on then Nigerian government to continue to ensure the protection of aid workers, stating that it was the responsibility of the host governments.
According to her, the Federal government, State governments and the military have shown reasonable commitments to protecting aid workers.
“I think the state government, Federal government they are very committed with respect to their responsibilities, so I think
I will urge the government authorities to continue being committed and continue to do whatever they can to protect aid workers and humanitarian aid workers.
“I think the resources they have available to do this, they should use to the full extent because the recent abduction and execution of the 5 aid workers were disturbing, it was grouse.
“It was a cowardly act actually and against all international legal frameworks of international laws.
“As you know, even in the Northeast, the military is there to try to protect the civilians, protect the humanitarian workers.
“So my call and urge is really upon the federal government, the state governments to continue to do what they are doing and I know they are trying their level best,” Kapaya said.
Kapaya noted that it is a very challenging situation but the safety of humanitarian aid workers and the civilians that have paid the brunt of the insurgency must be guaranteed.