Commentaries and Analyses Index

Refugee Life Difficult For All

LUSAKA, June 21 - Each time there is a commemoration of World Refugee Day, the number of refugees in Africa is not reducing. More and more victims, women and children included, keep running away from their countries.

No one wants to end up as a refugee. It is quite traumatic to be. Victims are not only deprived but the majority of them are subjected to nomadic welfare.

Most of them never recover from the suffering. Others never return to the areas where they were displaced from. This kind of life denies many their basic human rights.

For example some children may fail to even have an opportunity to go to school. Others are killed at an early age, since they are forced to become child soldiers.

Sometimes they end up child soldiers as a way to survive. As children with arms they may defend themselves from would-be assailants.

But also as armed little men they may use the guns to get food. In short some innocent children become dangerous criminals.

However, this is the kind of welfare that should not be allowed or tolerated in today's world.

The call therefore by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regional representative Ahmed Gubartalla to end conflict in the Great Lakes region and plug a stream of refugees flowing into other regions, is valid.

The Great Lakes region problem is taking unnecessarily too long to sort out, yet it is not beyond resolve.

The area is among the richest in Africa and its peoples amongst the poorest. They have no access to the minerals, ivory and other abundant natural resources found there.

The bulk of the wealth is pillaged by armed men carrying out senseless wars and their backers.

Ask Angola, it ran through a war for almost three decades, but the country benefited only backwardness as there has been no development. Most Angolans remain the poorest despite the oil, diamonds and other mineral riches in the country.

The nation today accounts for the highest number in the world of people who have lost limbs through landmines.

The rehabilitation process is slow and painful since the major part of the country still remains inaccessible, because it was not developed or the little development there was bombed out.

We agree with Mr Gubartalla concerted efforts are needed to end conflicts especially in Africa. The continent has lagged behind because of unnecessary and senseless wars.

Is it not embarrassing that while the rest of the world is consolidating economic blocs, Africa should continue to craw with rebel armies? The continent needs to realise that the time that has been lost for development will never be recovered.

It is imperative that serious efforts are made to begin life anew by curbing conflicts. People should learn to talk as a way of sorting out differences. Violence has never been a mode of resolving issues.

The Times of Zambia / allAfrica Global Media

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