Burundi

Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons visits Burundi

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BUJUMBURA (7 February 2000) -- At the invitation of the Government of Burundi, the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, Dr. Francis M. Deng, is visiting Burundi from 6-11 February to study the situation of internal displacement in the country.
This is the second official mission to Burundi undertaken by the Representative, who first visited the country in 1994. The situation of internal displacement has since deteriorated dramatically, to affect 12% of the population or some 808,000 persons. Over a third of these have become displaced in recent months as a result of the forced relocation measures, known as "regroupement", introduced by the Government. The provinces of Bujumbura Rurale and Bujumbura Mairie, where over 50 regroupement camps have been established, are particularly affected. A number of reports indicate that the camp populations lack basic humanitarian assistance and adequate physical protection.

The Representative's visit is being undertaken at the request of international humanitarian and development agencies and non-governmental organizations concerned about the plight of the internally displaced of Burundi.

The purpose of the visit is to ascertain developments since his last visit and to engage in solutions-oriented dialogue with the authorities and other relevant actors, including international agencies and non-governmental organizations, with a view to ensuring an effective and comprehensive response to the protection and assistance needs created by the situation of internal displacement. In particular, the Representative is presenting to the Government the statement and accompanying policy paper on forced relocation recently adopted by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) - a forum comprised of the major UN and non-governmental humanitarian and development agencies.

Over the course of the week, Dr. Deng will meet with President Buyoya, a number of senior Government ministers, the donor and diplomatic community, United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organizations working with the internally displaced. He is to visit a number of camps or settlements of internally displaced persons.

Dr. Francis Deng was appointed as Representative of the Secretary-General in 1992, at the request of the UN Commission on Human Rights. He will report the findings of his visit to the Commission as well as to the Secretary-General and the IASC.