UNHCR Operational Update Rwanda, 1 January 2018
Comprehensive Solutions Strategy (CSS) for Rwandan refugees comes to a close: Following the expiry of the deadline for the cessation of refugee status (31 December 2017), UNHCR no longer considers the Rwandan population group as refugees. However, countries that decided not to invoke the Cessation Clause will continue regarding them as refugees and registering them as such. UNHCR sees cessation as a step in pursuing comprehensive solutions strategies, but not as the conclusion of the durable solutions process. UNHCR engagement will be tailored to each individual country depending on the circumstances there, irrespective of a cessation recommendation in order to bring a definitive conclusion to this long period of displacement.
Food ration cuts continue in all refugee camps: In December and November, food rations have been reduced by 10% due to underfunding. WFP and UNHCR have appealed to donors to contribute funds to prevent a 25% reduction from January onwards in food and cash assistance. As there is an urgent need to strategically manage limited funding, UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF held a taskforce meeting to discuss targeting assistance to the most vulnerable refugees through Rwanda’s social protection system known as Ubudehe.
Belgium provides support to refugees in Rwanda in order to maintain food assistance and to pilot an innovative cooking fuel solution: The Kingdom of Belgium has contributed 1.5 million EUR to WFP and 500,000 EUR to UNHCR. This was announced by the Belgium Ambassador to Rwanda during his official visit to Gihembe refugee camp. Belgium’s contribution to UNHCR will enable 19,500 Congolese refugees in Kigeme camp, located in Rwanda’s Southern Province, and the host community members to have access to clean cooking through cash to purchase sustainably produced pellets, and to lease clean and highly efficient cooking stoves.
UNHCR and the German Embassy in Rwanda host the 25th Anniversary of the DAFI scholarship programme for refugees: As 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the German-funded Albert Einstein Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI), UNHCR and the German Embassy in Rwanda, together with the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), hosted a special event to invite DAFI students and alumni to share their testimonies and network among the diplomatic community and private companies operating in Rwanda.