UNHCR continues to receive concerning reports of systematic forced return of Mozambican families from Tanzania. UNHCR urges neighboring countries to respect access to asylum for those fleeing widespread violence and armed conflict in northern Mozambique.
As of 28 May, some 62,0001 people from Palma were forcibly displaced in the aftermath of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) attacks in March. Families continue fleeing insecurity mainly to the districts of Mueda, Nangade, Montepuez and Pemba by land, air and sea.
Before Palma attacks, some 700,000 persons were already displaced in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala and Zambezia as a result of violence and insecurity in Cabo Delgado. The humanitarian situation continues deteriorating and urgent assistance is needed to address the needs of those fleeing violence.
In May 2021, almost 3,800 Mozambicans have been forcibly returned from Tanzania through Negomano border point, according to Mozambican border authorities. UNHCR is currently engaging with local authorities in Mueda district to ensure that information is timely shared regarding refoulement and ensure adequate follow up and provision of assistance. Most of those forcibly returned families are spontaneously travelling to other districts in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa, as Mueda is perceived as an unsafe location. On 25 May, UNHCR assessed the current situation of refouled Mozambicans in Negomano and conducted a verification exercise prior distribution of Core Relief Items in the area. UNHCR interviewed 68 people, including persons with specific needs, survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV), elderly persons and pregnant women, as well as one woman who delivered a child while being forcibly returned to Mozambique, receiving no medical aid or support. In Mueda Sede, UNHCR interviewed 26 refouled Mozambicans who confirmed the systematic and recurrent refoulement, as well as protection concerns previously reported such as the separation of families, and the lack of humanitarian assistance. Most of the interviewees reported having fled violence in northern districts of Cabo Delgado, particularly Palma and Muidumbe, into Tanzania, and confirmed frequent abductions of community members by NSAGs in their areas of origin.