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Rwandans in asylum to lose refugee status by next year

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Agencies

Kigali: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is reviewing a comprehensive strategy which seeks to end the Rwandese refugee situation globally by the end of 2011.

UNHCR recognizes that Rwanda has undergone profound positive changes in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and finds no reasons to still hold Rwandans in asylum as refugees beyond next year.

According to Honorine Sommet-Lange, the Deputy Representative in charge of protection at UNHCR, a road map of actions leading to the cessation of Rwandan refugee status is currently in its final stages.

“We will work closely with the Rwandan authorities and the concerned countries of asylum to implement the initiatives to give component to our strategy,” Lange said in an interview.

She explained that a set of parameters and indicators would be worked out and agreed with the concerned states for the cessation of refugee status coming into effect as of 31st December 2011.

She added that despite the declaration, refugees seeking exemption from application of the cessation should be afforded the opportunity to put forward the specific reasons for which they continue to fear returning home.

Government has welcomed the move saying, that after three years of hard work to prove ability over its nationals, the efforts are finally paying off.

“Last October it was agreed that by 2011a cessation clause should be in place and the development is positive. The ministry is finalizing procedures which will be subjected to another review in September,” James Musoni, Local Government Minister said.

UNHCR Statistics show that at least 75,530 Rwandan refugees live in some 40 countries countrywide.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to most Rwandan refugees in Africa followed by Uganda and Zambia while France, UK and Belgium top the European list of host countries.

In 2002 voluntary repatriation was enhanced and a total of 112,923 refugees have since returned.

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