22,223 refuges &asylum seekers in Burundi

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  • 90 percent are Congolese reluctant to repatriate

By Jean Luc Ndaruhutse

Rwagiriza-Refugees-Camp (photo by BT)

BUJUMBURA-Burundi joined the world to celebrate the 20th of June dedicated to the refugees. The ceremonies marking the day were held in a camp for Congolese refugees in Bwagiriza Ruyigi.

This day was celebrated when the Burundi has over urban refugees (22,223 refugees and asylum seekers according to UNHCR figures) than those found in refugee camps (21,159 according to UNHCR figures)

Urban refugees from the Congo (estimated at over 90 percent any strength: 43,382) are still reluctant about the proposal to join the others in the refugee camps inside the country (especially in the provinces Bwagiriza Ruyigi ) or go under the voluntary repatriation program initiated by the tripartite Burundi – DRC – UNHCR.

Despite their difficulties in meeting the basic needs (schooling, rent and food), the president of the Congolese urban refugees does not consider it possible that all refugees are found in one place.

“To say that all refugees should be collected in one place for assistance is somehow a lack of respect for them,” reported Bernard Amegindra the president of the Congolese urban refugees while condemning requirements of the UNHCR qualifiers of reasons that do not hold water.

For its part, Burundi has welcomed over 512,000 returnees since the beginning of the voluntary repatriation operation until the end of May 2011, and 1422 of them refugees from the DRC.

These figures do not prevent that Burundi still has a disturbing number of refugees still outside the country. According to figures provided by UNHCR, Tanzania hosts 67,291 refugees from Burundi, DRC 11,259, Uganda: 6980, the Republic of South Africa: 4686 and Kenya: 1854.

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  1. Steve Smith

    June 24, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    We are still looking for our son Christopher Smith 32 years…he may be one of the refugees
    Dark hair, short beard, large green eyes, slight build 5’10”
    Quiet in nature…was traveling through that area up to Egypt when everything happened
    Steve and Debi Smith

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