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Burundi Situation: UNHCR Regional Update (September 2019)

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Situation Report
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325,677 Total Burundian refugees residing in the main hosting countries (United Republic of Tanzania,
Rwanda, the DRC, Uganda).

18,221 Burundian refugees assisted to voluntarily return so far in 2019, with some 1,461 assisted in September.

7,628 Total Burundian arrivals recorded in 2019. In September, 993 new arrivals were reported in Rwanda and Uganda.

77,018 Total Burundian refugees assisted to return between September 2017 and 30 September 2019, mainly from Tanzania. For more information, please check the Voluntary Repatriation dashboard.

106,197 Number of IDPs in Burundi as of September 2019 according to IOM’s Data Tracking Matrix, for 77 per cent the factors of displacement are linked to natural disasters, for 23 per cent they are linked to the socio political situation.

Highlights and Operational Context

  • On 30 September, Burundi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ezechiel Nibigira, during his address at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared that Burundi has increasingly a favourable climate for a free, transparent and calm election. Elections are scheduled to take place in May 2020. In that vein he highlighted as positive signs the promotion of freedom of expression with the possibility for the formation of new political parties; the decision of Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, not to stand in the upcoming presidential elections; the reintegration of refugees and political exiles; and finally the release of more than 2,000 prisoners since the beginning of the year.

  • In September, the mid-year reports for the 2019 Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), including a regional overview and country level updates (DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania), were released. Although facing severe resource constraints, the reports reflect what RRP partners have achieved with the limited resources available to meet the life-saving and humanitarian needs of Burundian refugees throughout the region. However, with only 16 per cent of the required funding available by the end of June, the Burundi situation response continued facing serious challenges with serious gaps in the areas of health, education and livelihood support. In addition, most households lack adequate basic domestic items and sexual and gender based violence interventions remain critically hampered due to staff shortages.

  • On 13 September, the Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan (JRRRP), an integrated inter-agency response plan aimed at the sustainable return and reintegration of Burundi refugees from the five main countries of asylum (Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Kenya) was launched in Burundi, with 19 partners calling for USD 77.9 million for 2019. The plan includes humanitarian and development oriented communitybased response activities for an estimated 74,000 refugees who already returned – both assisted and unassisted – in 2017 and 2018, as well new returnees in 2019, and some 82,000 community members in the six main provinces of return.