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Burundian Refugees in Uganda Urged to Voluntarily Return Home :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Burundian Refugees in Uganda Urged to Voluntarily Return Home

13,000 Burundian refugees living in Uganda are being asked to voluntarily return home.

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13,000 Burundian refugees living in Uganda are being asked to voluntarily return home.

 

The call comes on the heel of the signing of a tripartite agreement between the Ugandan and Burundian government today.

 

Uganda has been the destination of refugees from neighbouring countries such as Eritrea, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya totalling to 234, 000 in different refugee settlement camps.

 

Steven Malinga, the Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, says the repatriation is voluntary for whoever feels Burundi is secure and under good governance.

 

//Cue in: “This repatriation is…              

Cue out:…their own country.”//

 

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees representative Mohammed Adar noted that Uganda has been home to many Burundian Refugees since the 1970’s. Adar noted that there was a surge in the number of arrivals from 2007 with the largest influx being registered in 2012.

 

This was as a result of the closure of Mtabila camp in Tanzania.

 

//Cue in: “Uganda has been…

Cue out:… soon as possible.”//

 

The tripartite agreement specifies a right to return for Burundian refugees living in Uganda without any precondition and emphasizes that return must be voluntary in character.

 

It also defines responsibilities of the parties including the voluntary character of repatriation, access to refugees and returnees by UNHCR. It further establishes exit and entry formalities, providing security arrangements, taking measures to ensure settlement and reintegration of refugees.

 

Clotide Niragira, the Burundian Minister of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender says they currently do not have any formal arrangement for those who will return, but those who will, will be placed in camps before they are given land to settle on.

 

Malinga however reiterated that Uganda will still remain a home for those who do not want to return and shall be given protection according to the law.

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