UNHCR Regional Update - Burundi Situation, August 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 31 Aug 2017 View Original

In August, some 2,100 newly arrived Burundian refugees and asylum seekers were recorded in the region. The largest number was recorded in Uganda with 806 newly registered Burundian refugees.

Following a ministerial tripartite commission in Dar-es-Salaam on 31 August 2017, modalities have been put in place to assist the voluntary return of 12,000 Burundian refugees from Tanzania until the end of 2017.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Refugee Status Determination conducted by the National Commission for Refugees (CNR) resumed on 17 August, after having been suspended for almost two months.

KEY INDICATORS

423,056
Burundian refugees and asylum seekers who fled since 1 April 2015

534,000
Projection of Burundian refugees by the of end 2017, while the total returns figure is expected to rise to 50,000 (RRP Planning Figures)

209,202
IDPs according to IOM including 69,734 individuals linked to the current crisis, as of May 2017

Operational Context

Voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees:

  • A ministerial-level tripartite meeting was concluded between UNHCR and the governments of Burundi and Tanzania on the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees in Tanzania on 31 August in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The meeting resulted in a Joint Communiqué where both Governments reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of voluntary repatriation of refugees, while acknowledging that some refugees may still have well-founded reasons for not wanting to return at this time. In addition, modalities have been put in place to assist an estimated 12,000 Burundian refugees to return from Tanzania to Burundi in the last quarter of 2017.

  • While small-scale repatriation from Tanzania has begun in early September, based on the agreement in the Joint Communiqué, conditions for large-scale organized repatriation under conditions of safety and dignity are not yet in place. UNHCR underscores the fact that Burundian refugees still have a need for continued international protection. It also highlights the need to ensure that tripartite mechanisms are set in place to govern the development of operational modalities to assist those refugees who may indicate an intent to return voluntarily based on a free and informed choice.

Funding update:

  • The (UNHCR) Burundian Refugee Situation continues to be severely under-funded at 11 percent of the total requirement of USD 250 million, making it one of the lowest funded refugee emergencies worldwide.

  • The revised (Inter-Agency) Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan, released on 26 September 2017, is appealing for USD 429 million for Burundian refugees in the neighbouring countries and is currently only 12 per cent funded.

  • Funding constraints continue to pose challenges for the provision of basic humanitarian services across the region. Underfunding has severely hampered reception capacities and strained asylum space as well as the quality of protection rendered by host countries. Refugees continue to live in overcrowded and congested camps, suffering from a deterioration of emergency shelters, shortages of water and food and overstretched health and education services.