Humanitarian Aid for Refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania
Location of operation: Tanzania
Amount of Decision: EUR 4,550,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/TZA/EDF/2006/01000
1 - Rationale, needs and target population.
1.1. - Rationale :
Since independence,(1) Tanzania has hosted many refugees. After the Rwandan genocide of 1994, thousands of Rwandans entered Tanzania, most of whom returned in 2002-3. The first Burundian refugees arrived in 1972, with thousands more following as of 1994 due to the civil war. Since the mid-90’s, Tanzania has hosted large numbers of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, fleeing from conflict in South Kivu. Most refugees are in North West Tanzania, except the Somalis in Tanga, the 1972 caseload of Burundians in Rukwa and those living illegally in the country. The registered refugee population has evolved as follows over the last ten years:
Burundi made progress in 2005 towards stability, with a successful democratic process culminating in the election of a Hutu president. The presence of UN peacekeepers, known as ONUB2, to be replaced as of January 2007 by MINUB3, has helped to maintain stability. The last fighting rebel group, the Libération du Peuple Hutu-Front National de Libération, signed a ceasefire agreement on 7 September 2006. However, prior to the signature of the agreement, the political situation in Burundi deteriorated somewhat, with a worrying chain of events in August and September. The poor food security and economic situation, the agricultural seasons, school calendar and the political and security situation in Burundi are key factors said to be influencing the decision of refugees to return home or remain in Tanzania, and contributing to the limited Burundian repatriation (17,316 people as of August 2006). The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has been promoting repatriation since June 2006, and encouraging refugees to return.
UNHCR has, for the past year, also been facilitating the repatriation of Congolese refugees to the DRC. After initial enthusiasm, this repatriation suddenly slowed in April 2006. From January to August 2006, UNHCR repatriated 12,571 refugees, mainly to South Kivu, but thereafter, the numbers fell to less than 1,000 people a month, probably due to the elections in DRC. The great majority of the Congolese refugees seem eager to return, but not before the results of the elections are known, particularly in view of the fighting which took place in Kinshasa following the announcement of the first round election results. The inauguration of a newly elected Parliament in September is encouraging, but with a second electoral round having taken place end October, repatriation is not expected to increase again until at least the end of the year. Depending on the developments in DRC, and in South Kivu in particular, repatriation could either cease completely or accelerate dramatically. The possibility of an influx of refugees in Tanzania if the security situation deteriorates in DRC cannot be excluded.
Taking into account the repatriation and a reduction in refugee figures due to a 2006 revision of UNHCR's data base (Project Profile), whereby 15,000 names were removed, the total refugee population in North West Tanzania will be an estimated 290,000 at the start of 2007. The Tanzanian Government continues to encourage repatriation rather than integration, but also continues to provide hospitality for refugees.
(1) Mainland Tanganyika became independent in 1961, then united with Zanzibar to form URT in 1964.