UNHCR welcomes the decision on 37 protracted Rwandan refugees

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 28 Feb 2014

Bujumbura –UNHCR welcomes the decision of the Government of Burundi to regularize the situation of 37 Rwandan refugees who fled their country between 1959 and December 31, 1998.Indeed, on the 26 February 2014, the Government declared the cessation clause of the refugee status for these 37 refugees and decided to implement durable solutions for them.

Durable solutions for this group of 37 Rwandan refugees have already been initiated in collaboration with the Government. Some are already integrated into communities and others are in the process of regularizing their situation in particular by requesting residence permits in Burundi. Naturalization applications have also been submitted to the competent authorities and the voluntary repatriation remains relevant for those who wish.

According to Catherine HUCK, UNHCR Representative in Burundi: “This decision of the Government is part of the implementation of the cessation clause of the refugee status for those who fled abuses in Rwanda before 1998. This decision stems from the strategy for durable solutions for Rwandan Refugees as adopted in Geneva in 2011 and confirmed by the ministerial conference of African States held in April 2013 in Pretoria.” She also added that: “The refugees who fled their country after 1998 and Asylum Seekers who may have recently fled are not affected by this measure.” UNHCR Burundi provides protection and assistance to 45,914 refugees, 7,029 Asylum Seekers, 78,948 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 1,302 people at risk of statelessness (as at January 31, 2014). Approximately 63% of refugees live in camps and 37% are urban refugees living mainly in Bujumbura.

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Press Contacts

Alix Nijimbere, Public Information Assistant, UNHCR Burundi. Tel: +257 22 22 32 45 Mobile: +257 78 310 564. Email: nijimbal@unhcr.org