|2012 08 07 Migration agency runs out of money to assist refugees|
With many economies still trying to recover from the shock waves of the global financial crisis, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has indicated that it has run out of funding to assist stranded refugees who want to return to their homelands.
IOM programme assistant in Cape Town Zoe Rohde said on Friday that her organisation stopped funding such a project in May due to funding challenges.
But while she did not want to raise much expectations among refugees, she said they were likely to resume the project between next month and October once they got confirmation from their donors that money would be forthcoming.
She said that last year they helped with the return of 250 refugees from South Africa, hoping that their next batch of funding would cover them for at least nine months to a year.
Most of the refugees who they helped were referrals from organisations such as the University of Cape Town Refugee Law Clinic, the Legal Resource Centre, the Scalabrini Centre and hospitals.
Refugees included those suffering from mental health problems, vulnerable single mothers, victims of xenophobia and the homeless who sought financial assistance to return home.
She said that most of the refugees they had helped were from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
People against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) leader Braam Hanekom said the government should consider starting a voluntary repatriation programme instead of deporting people.
Concern was growing among some pro-refugee organisations that the ANC was likely to adopt an anti-refugee policy at its elective conference.
The New Age