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Rwanda: UNHCR registers 10,000 Burundi refugees for repatriation

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in Rwanda has registered 10,000 refugees from Burundi for repatriation, an official told APA Monday.The…

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in Rwanda has registered 10,000 refugees from Burundi for repatriation, an official told APA Monday.The first group of 3,058 these refugees  have so far been repatriated during an exercise which started in August this year, in a joint operation conducted by the UN agency in collaboration with the Rwandan and Burundian governments,  it said.

There are about 80,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda of  whom about 60,000 live in Camp Mahama, the largest refugee camp in the east of the country.

For most Burundian refugees who fled to Rwanda in 2015, their expectation was to return home as soon as the situation allowed.

Burundian  officials were delighted at the prospect of receiving thousands of  refugees from Rwanda, even as the number of applicants is expected to  increase.

For its part, the Rwandan government affirms its readiness to facilitate the safe and dignified return of refugees who choose to return home and to protect those still on its territory.

The repatriation follows last month’s petition, which was signed by over  330 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp, appealing to the new Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye for a dignified and lawful return to  their home country.

The government of Rwanda said it was  committed to the principle of voluntary repatriation as a durable  solution for refugees, in accordance with international and domestic  laws.

The petition letter also stressed that these refugees fled  because of the political crisis and insecurity stemming mainly from  former Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a  controversial third term.

But, they contended that peace has been  restored in their country based on the fact that the third term threat  was over, and an elected President is currently leading the country.

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