Thousands of Burundians sign up for voluntary repatriation from Tanzania: UNHCR

12 March 2002

More than 16,000 refugees from Burundi living in camps in western Tanzania have signed up for voluntary repatriation, part of the continuing interest in returning home since the installation last November of the Transitional Government in Bujumbura, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

More than 16,000 refugees from Burundi living in camps in western Tanzania have signed up for voluntary repatriation, part of the continuing interest in returning home since the installation last November of the Transitional Government in Bujumbura, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today.

The refugees have registered mainly to return to the communes of Makamba in southern Burundi and Ruyigi to the east, UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski said at a press briefing in Geneva. The exercise follows an agreement reached between the agency and the Governments of Burundi and Tanzania at a tripartite meeting held in mid-January, during which UNHCR agreed to facilitate the return of Burundian refugees who had returned home spontaneously.

“UNHCR will now transport the returnees to transit centres being established inside Burundi and will also provide food and basic domestic supplies,” he said. “The returns are expected to begin in the coming weeks.”

UNHCR said many of the more than 350,000 Burundian refugees it is assisting in seven camps in Tanzania have expressed an interest in returning home. However, the agency is not yet promoting organized repatriation due to the prevailing insecurity inside the central African nation, Mr. Janowski said.

 

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