Kigoma Region – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, opened on 5 December the Makere Refugee Processing Centre in Kasulu District, Kigoma Region, Tanzania. The centre serves as a one-stop facility for processing Congolese Refugees residing in Nyarugusu camp bound for resettlement primarily to the US under the Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and other resettlement countries on cost-sharing basis.
The opening ceremony was led by Ambassador Mark C. Storella, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and Chairperson of the Great Lakes Core Group, accompanied by the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Tanzania and PRM staff from Washington DC and Kampala.
Representatives from other resettlement countries including Canada, Australia, United Kingdom (UK) and Belgium also attended. IOM was represented by Dr. Qasim Sufi, IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission and IOM officials from the Regional Office in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kigoma. Joan Allison, Deputy Representative, led a UNHCR delegation along with senior resettlement staff from Geneva, Nairobi and Kasulu.
The Government was represented by (Rtd.) Brigadier General Emmanuel Maganga, Regional Commissioner for Kigoma region, Harrison Mseke, Director for Refugee Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Kasulu District Commissioner and local leaders.
"The Makere Refugee Processing Centre is a clear evidence of a burden-sharing approach in easing refugee hosting by the international community and especially the US Government. The Government of Tanzania is very grateful for that,” said (Rtd) Brigadier General Maganga in his welcoming remarks.
For his part, Ambassador Storella commended IOM’s efforts that led to the completion and subsequent operations at the Centre ahead of schedule and within allocated budget. “IOM is a valued humanitarian partner for PRM worldwide, not just Tanzania,” he said. He also invited other resettlement countries to use the Centre to process refugees for resettlement on a cost-sharing basis.
The Makere Refugee Processing Centre has 23 interview rooms, five multi-purpose rooms, a full-fledged migration health clinic, canteen for up to 50 persons, 24 accommodation units and offices. The construction of the Centre took 11 months. Its proximity to Nyarugusu refugee camp will enable refugees to come for processing and return on the same day, cutting down three-hour travel time on rough road for processing in Kigoma and avoiding the need to spend several nights away from their homes.
“The Makere Refugee Processing Centre is the most important part of the expansion of the IOM Mission in Tanzania from 2015 that will positively contribute into the implementation process of the USRAP and other resettlement countries in Tanzania,” said Dr. Sufi addressing the Great Lakes Core Group delegation whose mission ran from 4 to 6 December 2017. “I'm very grateful to the Tanzanian Government for the allocation of land to IOM to build this important and modern facility through a 10-year MoU,” he added.
During a brief tour of the Centre, members of the Great Lakes Core Group could see ongoing medical screening carried out by the IOM Migration Health team and adjudication interviews by US officials.
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