Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Govt sets up voluntary repatriation taskforce


Returnees from DR Congo at Nyagatare Transit Camp in Rusizi District.
The government has set up a taskforce to drive voluntary return of refugees.

The taskforce, to be headed by the Ministry Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, will also facilitate the issuance of passports or other national identification documents to those who will not be able to return home due to different reasons after the Cessation Clause has come into force.
The move comes days after a group of African ministers in charge of refugees affairs agreed to encourage Rwandan refugees to voluntarily return home.

Fredrick Ntawukuriryayo, the communications officer in the ministry, explained that the issuance of passports is aimed at facilitating Rwandans who would want to remain in their host countries as Rwandans and not refugees for various reasons. Some of the reasons include but are not limited to ownership of property. 

The documents, including passports, national identification cards, laissez passers  (temporary travel document) as well as residence permits will be issued in host countries.

According to the UNHCR Cessation Clause, after the June 30, all the Rwandan refugees will have three options to choose from including, voluntary repatriation, local integration into host countries or individual reapplication for refugee status. 

The taskforce, whose detailed terms of reference are yet to be drawn, according to a source, will comprise officials from the ministries of disaster preparedness and refugees, Internal security, Justice and migration department. 

It will work closely with Rwandan embassies and consular offices as well as UN refugee agency. 

About 70,000 Rwandans are still living as refugees, especially in Great Lakes region.

On the issue of continued sensitisation for voluntary repartriation, the government is planning to commence bilateral engagements with the host countries to deliberate on the implementation of the Cessation Clause.

Communication materials like videos and write-ups on the status of the country’s economic and political development will be availed in the refugee camps for the refugees to understand how the country has moved on.

African ministers in charge of refugees during their recent meeting in Pretoria, South Africa promised to continue working closely with the Rwandan government in ensuring the voluntary repatriation of refugees before the Cessation Clause comes into force.

Rwanda’s Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, Seraphine Mukantabana said after the meeting that the host countries showed commitment to encourage voluntary repatriation.

“Most of the countries showed us that they are prepared for the Cessation Clause though they requested for our continued support in the sensitisation process before the date and we are ready to help,” she said. 

Over 4.5 million people have voluntariry returned home since 1994 and government has continued assisting them to reintegrate in the society, including providing them land, health insurance, free education for their children and other benefits. 

African countries that host the majority of Rwandan refugees include Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi Kenya and South Africa.


George said...

If you want to know more about the refugees and the bad situation with UNHCR/Rwanda go to
Time is ticking away!
Watch the film and sign the petition linked on the site
June 30 deadline!

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