Nine of the world’s 10 most neglected displacement crises are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to an international aid group.
For the second year in a row, Cameroon topped the annual index released by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on Wednesday, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Meanwhile, the Sahel region comprised a larger portion of the top 10 than in previous years, with Burkina Faso and Niger joining Mali in the ranking for the first time and reflecting the growing security and humanitarian crisis unfolding amid the region’s multi-layered conflict.
Also on the list were Burundi, ranking fourth, South Sudan, at seventh, Nigeria, at eighth and the Central African Republic at ninth. Venezuela, which ranked fifth amid a humanitarian crisis driven by a flailing economy, sanctions and political instability, was the only country in the top 10 outside of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The NRC ranks countries based on three criteria: Lack of political will on both the part of in-state and international actors; lack of media attention; and lack of international aid.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the NRC, said the countries on the list were victims of a “vicious cycle of neglect” perpetuated by disinterest from world powers who see little strategic value in resolving them.
“There is little diplomatic political efforts to end the crisis, leading to less journalists going there, leading to less attention and less donor money, therefore fewer aid workers there,” he said.
Drawing a link to protests that have swept the world following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of white police in the United States, Egeland questioned if the location of the most neglected crises belied a larger racist pattern.
“Maybe in this age when we discuss all of the structural racism around the world, is there some racism here?” he asked. “How come Africa is time and again being at the bottom of this attention, resource, diplomacy list. A life in Africa should be of as much value as a European or an American or an Asian.”