Cabo Delgado Situation 12–25 June 2021


Photo by Estacio Valoi


UNHCR reiterates concern over the forced return of Mozambican asylum seekers from Tanzania fleeing from violence in Cabo Delgado. UNHCR urges neighbouring countries to respect access to asylum for those fleeing widespread violence and armed conflict in northern Mozambique.


According to organization In June 2021, 1,270 Mozambican asylum seekers were forcibly returned from Tanzania, raising the total number of people forcibly returned to Cabo Delgado in 2021 to 9,753 individuals. The forced return of asylum seekers to an area where their life may be at risk is a serious violation of international law and the principle of Non-Refoulement.


As of April, 732,000 persons were displaced in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala and Zambezia as a result of violence and insecurity in Cabo Delgado. As of June, 84,000 people from Palma were forcibly displaced in the aftermath of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) attacks in March.


Systematic and organized refoulement of Mozambican asylum seekers from Tanzania: from 23 to 26 June, UNHCR conducted another border monitoring mission to Negomano, Mueda district, to assess the ongoing refoulement of Mozambican asylum seekers from Tanzania. UNHCR witnessed the refoulement of13 individuals, raising the number of refouled Mozambicans to 1,270 in June 2021, and to 9,753 in 2021.


During the mission, 12 refouled individuals shared that upon arrival in Tanzania, access is denied to most asylum seekers, except for a few who arrive on small boats/canoes. Due to the dangers and risks of such trips, the price per person has raised from 1,500 to 2,500 MZN (between 25 and 40 USD), which is unaffordable for most families fleeing violence in Cabo Delgado.


Photo by Estacio Valoi


Additionally, there are concerning reports of asylum seekers stranded in bordering areas, unable to enter in Tanzania. Those able to cross are not receiving food, medical or shelter assistance. This situation is aggravated by the high inflation in bordering areas, which has tripled the cost of living. Moreover, 50 individuals recently refouled and interviewed by UNHCR confirmed the separation of families at the border, especially binational families, which persists as one of the main protection concerns.


Out of all interviewed, 87 per cent prefer to relocate to safer areas in the country such as Montepuez in Cabo Delgado, or in the neighbouring provinces of Niassa and Nampula, where they could potentially access farming land an engage in livelihoods activities to become self-reliant. In Negomano, women reiterate the lack of medical support to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and the absence of a maternity ward with antenatal care.(Moz24h)

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