United Republic of Tanzania: Burundian Refugee Voluntary Repatriation Operation (September 2019)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 30 Sep 2019

Background and Operational Context

In August 2017, the Tripartite Commission (United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Burundi, and UNHCR) issued a joint communiqué and agreed to implement a work plan from 7 September to 31 December 2017 entailing the voluntary repatriation plan of Burundian refugees who wished to return to Burundi. In a follow up Tripartite Commission Meeting in March 2018, a new work plan to return 72,000 individuals by year end was signed. The Tripartite Commission also acknowledged that while some refugees may opt to return, others may still have wellfounded reasons for not returning and will continue to be in need of international protection.

While the political situation in Burundi remains unresolved, UNHCR does not promote the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees. UNHCR continues to support voluntary returns as an important durable solution and to ensure returns are based on the principles of voluntariness and informed decisions, and take place in safety and dignity. Since September 2017, UNHCR has assisted the Governments of Tanzania and Burundi in the voluntary return of more than 76,000 refugees.

Return Figures and Trends from the Reporting Period

• 1,461 people assisted to voluntarily repatriate to Burundi in September

• 732 women (50%) and 729 (50%) men

• 210 returnees have specific needs

• 2 return convoys

Overall Return Figures and Trends

As at 30 September 2019, 76,100 people have returned since September 2017. Below is the breakdown:

• 38,407 (50.5%) women and 37,693 (49.5%) men

• 43,259 (57%) children

• 7,503 (10%) have specific needs

• The highest number of returns were to Ruyigi, Muyinga, and Makamba provinces (17,608, 14,193 and 13,665 returnees respectively).

The tables below show the breakdown of Burundian refugee returns per month, age and sex, refugee camp, period of asylum in Tanzania, and return destinations in Burundi.