Commemorating the plight of displaced people

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Commemorating the plight of displaced people

AWEPA Newsletter

Report of the International Conference on Refugees, Nelspruit, South Africa, 1997

Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Today AWEPA links in sentiment to the UN initiated World Refugee Day by highlighting the plight of displaced people throughout the world. AWEPA began fostering Inter-African as well as African-European dialogue on this important issue in the mid-1990s.

In this context, AWEPA initiated an international conference on migration in Nelspruit, South Africa, on 12-13 June 1997. The conference brought up the delicate issue of Mozambican refugees in South Africa during the Mozambican post-war years. Several questions emerged: “will the hospitality extended to these people be prolonged, and under what conditions, or will they eventually return home, how many, and under what conditions?” To try to answer those questions, AWEPA gathered together representatives from the UN as well as from European and African countries including South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Burundi.

The conference was followed by a fact-finding mission to Mozambique and to the border areas of Mpumalanga province, South Africa. Below are some snapshots from that period, images that are as poignant a reality today as they were then.

In honour of AWEPA’s 30th anniversary, we will continue facilitating dialogue on migration and development by hosting an African-European Parliamentary Dialogue on Friday 3 October 2014, in Midrand (South Africa). This event will be hosted by one of AWEPA’s main partners, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).