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 entailing the voluntary repatriation plan of Burundian refugees who wished to return home. In a follow up Tripartite Commission Meeting in March 2018, a new work plan to voluntarily repatriate up to 72,000 individuals by year end was signed. In November 2019 Tripartite Commission held its 21st Meeting and issued another joint communiqué which underscored several key commitments;
I. Returns to Burundi would continue to be facilitated in accordance with the principles guiding voluntary repatriation.
II. Some refugees may have well-founded reasons not seeking to return at the present time and would continue to benefit from international protection.
III. Tanzania would continue to keep its doors open to those refugees who meet the relevant criteria of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees read together with its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.
IV. The two governments would continue facilitating free and unhindered access to refugees and returnees for the purposes of meeting the objectives of the Tripartite Agreement in accordance with international and national laws.
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. Due to capacity constraints, voluntary repatriation was put on hold in mid-November. Since September 2017, UNHCR has assisted both the Governments of Tanzania and Burundi in the voluntary return of more than 78,000 refugees.
Return Figures and Trends from the Reporting Period
403 people assisted to voluntarily repatriate to Burundi in November
193 women (48%) and 210 (52%) men
62 returnees have specific needs
2 return convoys