Nepal may become next big refugee crisis: UN
GENEVA: The United Nations is carefully monitoring the situation in Nepal and has identified it as potentially the next nation to have large numbers of people forced from their homes by conflict, a UN official has said.
Dennis McNamara, who coordinates UN emergency relief for refugees who remain in their own countries, said nine years of civil war in Nepal has already rendered between 200,000 and 400,000 Nepalese internally displaced.
Many more are threatened, he said.
"The numbers aren't huge, but it is certainly deteriorating. We are concerned," McNamara said on Tuesday.
"Governments often don't like to be identified as potential crises," McNamara said.
The United Nations, which for decades was unable to help the internally displaced because of concerns for national sovereignty, has in recent years decided that the problem is so massive it must intervene.
McNamara said there are only 10 million people in the world who can be classed as refugees according to international law because they have crossed borders.
But the displaced by conflict and persecution within their own countries number about 25 million, he told reporters.
McNamara identified Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Somalia, Congo, Liberia and Colombia as the worst such crises in the world. In Africa, there are some 13 million people displaced internally by conflict and persecution, more than half the global total.
"Internally displaced are, de facto, the new refugees of Africa," he said.