Funding Required $33,500,000
People In Need 488,500
Target Beneficiaries 130,000
IOM, in coordination with key stakeholders and partners, aims to provide safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation and reintegration support to Burundian returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Rwanda.
As of 30 November 2020, the United Republic of Tanzania hosted 149,847 Burundian refugees who arrived in the country in several waves since 2015, while the Republic of Rwanda hosted 67,903. Combined, these two countries host 70 per cent of all Burundian refugees in the Great Lakes region (UNHCR).
Over the past months, since the inauguration of the new government in Burundi in June 2020, there has been a remarkable improvement of the political and security situation in the country.
This has contributed to the voluntary return of a considerable number of refugees from neighbouring countries to Burundi, while many others continue to express willingness to return home. Through UNHCR’s voluntary repatriation (VolRep) activities in the country, 104,221 Burundian refugees have been assisted to return to Burundi since September 2017. In addition, since the new tripartite agreement signed on 27 August 2020 between UNHCR,
Rwanda and Burundi, as of 10 December 2020 a total of 7,037 refugees returned to Burundi from Rwanda, and 11,430 Burundian refugees are registered for the repatriation program from both in camp and urban areas (as of 12 December 2020).
While repatriation to Burundi implies the need to reinforce the absorption capacity of the country for immediate assistance and longer-term reintegration activities, the opportunity is made available to those who voluntarily wish to return and is seen as contributing to durable solutions to the refugee situation in the region. Such returns are achieved in accordance with protection standards and procedures, considering the specific refugee status of the beneficiaries. According to the Burundian Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Response Plan, 50,000 Burundians were expected to be repatriated in 2020. However, these numbers did not take into account the recent interest in voluntary repatriation by Burundian refugees following the May 2020 elections. It is therefore expected that 2021 will see an increase in the voluntary return of Burundian refugees, especially following the inauguration of the new government. According to UNHCR, approximately 142,000 Burundian refugees are expected to be repatriated in 2021, while IOM anticipates facilitating the return and reintegration of some 110,000 Burundian returnees in 2021. Because of this, IOM seeks to address the immediate and longer-term needs (Shelter/NFI, WASH, psychosocial support, security of land tenure, access to basic services and Health, livelihoods and community stabilization) of a significantly higher number of returnees, as well as the communities to which they return. The return and reintegration of tens of thousands of people in Burundi presents challenges typical of largescale returns, as vulnerabilities abound and resources are scarce, contributing to an atmosphere of resentment and laying the foundation for potential tensions at the community level. IOM Burundi is aiming to address this issue through community stabilization and social cohesion activities.
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