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Rwanda-Tanzania: Government delegation in Tanzania to sensitise refugees

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NAIROBI, 21 February (IRIN) - A Rwandan government delegation is in Tanzania to brief Rwandan refugees on voluntary repatriation, government-owned Radio Rwanda reported on Friday. It said the delegates were in the Ngara and Kibondo districts in the northwestern Kagera Region, where about 2,600 Rwandans are living in refugee camps.
"It is worth noting that the day before yesterday [Tuesday], 158 Rwandan refugees returned home from Tanzania through the Rusumo border post," the radio reported.

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's commercial capital, it was announced on Wednesday that at a tripartite meeting between the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the governments of Rwanda and Tanzania held on 13 February, it had been agreed that the remaining Rwandan refugees would leave "within two weeks".

The two-week period would be used for "sensitising" the refugees on the situation in Rwanda with a view to convincing them that it was safe for them to return, UNHCR told IRIN on Wednesday. "We are satisfied with the agreement, because it takes into account the individual situations of the asylum seekers," Ivana Unluova, the UNHCR spokeswoman in Dar es Salaam, said.

The Tanzanian home affairs ministry, which has been pushing for repatriation, believes that it is safe for the Rwandans to return.

"The government of Rwanda has reassured us and, having seen the real situation for ourselves, we are satisfied that this is the case," Omar Ramadhani Mapuri, the home affairs minister, told IRIN on Wednesday.

"After the two weeks, we will have the liberty to lift the refugee status [of any remaining Rwandans], and the normal immigration laws of Tanzania would apply," he said.

[ENDS]

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