Forced Displacement in Africa — [Mr Nigel Evans in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:46 pm on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee 2:46 pm, 4th July 2019

I thank the Minister and everyone who participated in the debate. Let me respond briefly on three points. The first is education, which I think everyone has spoken about. I absolutely echo what Kirsty Blackman said about Send My Friend, a brilliant campaign that has brought the issue of access to education to the fore of debate in this place, as well as among the wider public.

On resettlement, I need to correct my earlier mental arithmetic. I said that 10,000 divided by 650 was 30, but of course it is not; it is 15—I doubled the figure. So it would only be 15 refugees per constituency, not 30. I welcome what the Minister said. The announcement on World Refugee Day came after the publication of our report. That announcement is progress. I particularly welcome what she said in response to my intervention, because it gives some hope that refugees from sub-Saharan Africa might get a larger proportion of those resettlement places in future. I still encourage us to be a bit more generous and get to the 10,000 figure that UNHCR has recommended. The Minister is right to say that it is a question of balance, but 10,000 is still a very modest number when compared with the numbers coming into countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia.

The focus of our report was east Africa, but we have had a number of contributions—not least from my hon. Friend Kate Osamor—on what is happening in the Lake Chad basin and north-east Nigeria. There is clearly a challenging set of issues, which I know the Minister is focused on because we have spoken about it. I hope there might be an opportunity on a future occasion, either in Westminster Hall or the main Chamber, to look in more detail at the Government’s strategy on the Sahel, the Lake Chad basin and Nigeria, because there is a huge challenge there. I was very struck by the figure—I think it is from the UN—of 825,000 people in north-east Nigeria who are beyond the reach of aid; the aid organisations cannot even get to them. I hope that is something we can return to. I thank all Members—including you, Mr Evans, for your chairmanship.