The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), says about 68.5 million people are currently living as refugees around the world.
The UNHCR High Commissioner, Mr Philipo Grandi, made the disclosure in an address to mark the World Refugees Day at Anyake in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue, where Cameroonian refugees are camped.
He noted that the growing number of refugees across the world necessitated greater advocacy for support to assist them return home when the time was right or build new lives elsewhere.
The commissioner said that the refugees need to be integrated into new communities and given the chance to realise their potentials.
He therefore urged countries and communities hosting refugees to evolve more systematic, long term support as they take on the job of helping the uprooted families.
Grandi also said that helping refugees to rebuild their lives needed the cooperation of everybody, to enable them access education, a place to live, job, and be part of a community.
“I challenge organisations and others to join us in receiving and supporting refugees in our schools, neighbourhood, and workplaces,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Thomas Faustini, Head of UNHCR office in Adikpo, encouraged people to strive to resolve issues amicably to avoid conflicts that would displace them.
Faustini appreciated the Federal and Benue governments as well as organisations supporting the Cameroonian refugees.
The UNHCR Senior Desk Officer, Geneva, Mr Zulqarnain Anjum, promised that the Cameroonian refugees of school age would be enrolled in schools in order to build their capacity.
Also, the Chairman, Kwande local government, Mr Terdoo Kente, appreciated the host community for donating their farmlands to camp the refugees.
Kente, represented by his Vice, Mr Andrew Orvande, also commended the various organisations taking care of the refugees, noting that it was a herculean task to cater for displaced people.
The Divisional Police Officer for the area, Mr Rasheed Alli called for the fencing of the camp to enhance the security of inmates, and assured that the police would continue to protect them.
Mr Levi Ikyum, chairman of Anyake community, cautioned the refugees against exploiting the mineral deposits in the area to avoid conflict with the host community. (NAN)
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