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Following UNHCR contribution of USD 34.9 million to 2015 refugee response in Rwanda, refugee agency signs agreements with 11 partners for $10.8 million

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Following UNHCR contribution of USD 34.9 million to 2015 refugee response in Rwanda, refugee agency signs agreements with 11 partners for $10.8 million first phase of 2016 refugee response in Rwanda with MIDIMAR

Today, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed initial partnership agreements with national and international nongovernmental organizations totalling USD $10.8 million for the first phase of the 2016 refugee response in Rwanda in a ceremony at the UNHCR premises. The UNHCR Representative, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), and NGO directors participated in the signing ceremony, which is held annually. UNHCR is the agency mandated by the UN General Assembly to protect refugees. In Rwanda, it co-coordinates with MIDIMAR the refugee response for over 147,000 refugees living in six refugee camps across the country and in urban areas. UNHCR engages partners in its operations globally as they bring essential complementary capacity and expertise. "I am pleased to announce that for its 2016 operations UNHCR has signed its initial agreements with 11 partners, who will make key contributions to the protection and assistance to Congolese refugees as well as Burundians. As we continue to fundraise on behalf of refugees during the course of the year, we hope to increase the amount we are signing today."

In 2015, thanks to the generous support of our donors*, UNHCR contributed a total of USD $34.9 million to the refugee response in Rwanda, including disbursements made to six partners for their implementation of different projects: ADRA, AHA, ARC, PAJER, Plan International, and World Vision. This amount does not include UNHCR’s staffing or administrative costs but refers to direct refugee programs. Through this contribution, UNHCR and its partners made significant achievements for refugees in 2015, including the protection and multisectoral assistance of over 74,000 Congolese refugees in five camps, as well as the effective and timely response to the Burundi refugee emergency. In addition to registering all refugees using biometric data—which is the foundation for access to all other services—UNHCR established and strengthened mechanisms for the protection from sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and child abuse and exploitation; ensured access for all refugees to health and education, including through construction and equipping of national health posts and schools located near refugee camps; and provided non-foot items, firewood for cooking, and access to water and sanitation in all refugee camps. The interventions of UNHCR and its partners were complemented by critical contributions of sister UN agencies who support the humanitarian response for refugees in Rwanda, including WFP, UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, UN Women, IOM and FAO.

As a result of the sudden influx of Burundian refugees, UNHCR in 2016 has brought on board additional partners, bringing the total number of NGOs to 11, including 2 Rwandan organizations. With its total starting budget for 2016 of USD $15.4 million (not including staffing and administrative costs), UNHCR will ensure basic humanitarian standards for Burundian refugees who fled in 2015, as well as for over 74,000 Congolese refugees who fled insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. For both of these groups of refugees, it is critical to transition from emergency facilities and standards to more durable conditions of life, while ensuring that protection and basic needs continue to be met.

UNHCR will also prioritize in 2016 the identification of solutions for nearly 35,000 Congolese who have lived as refugees in Rwanda for nearly two decades. It is time for these refugees to be mainstreamed into national development programs, and UNHCR will strengthen its engagement with the One UN and other development partners to seek improved self-reliance and socioeconomic integration outcomes as they cannot safely return to their country of origin in the foreseeable future. Refugees in Rwanda are already able to access national education and health systems, thanks to the Government’s generous policy of inclusion in these areas, however this requires costly capacity building of schools and health clinics in remote areas. UNHCR will seek to jointly advocate with the One UN for funding for agencies with mandates in the area of development for national health, education, livelihoods and other programs to reduce the dependency of these refugees on humanitarian assistance and strive for their greater self-reliance.

*UNHCR’s donors in 2015: United States of America| UN Central Emergency Response Fund | UK Department for International Development (DFID) | EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO)| Belgium | Sweden (One UN) | Japan

Martina Pomeroy
External Relations Officer
UNHCR Kigal i