Burundi to welcome 2000 refugees from Tanzania per week

Pascal Barandagiye, Minister of Home Affairs has said the Burundian government expects to receive all Burundian refugees living in Tanzania by 31 December.

All Burundian refugees living in Tanzania to be repatriated by September

“We expect to welcome 2000 refugees per week from September to 31 December,” says Minister Barandagiye after undertaking a two-day visit in Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps in Tanzania from 23 August.
He said the activity of registering and identifying all Burundian refugees living in Tanzania is ongoing until the end of August.

In March 2018, the Burundian and Tanzanian governments as well as UNCHR agreed on the repatriation of 2000 Burundian refugees per week. “The number of returnees per week has significantly reduced to 150 refugees,” he says.

Minister Barandagiye also says about 15,000 Burundians live irregularly in refugee camps. He adds that the Burundian government is ready to receive all refugees.

The Burundian and Tanzanian governments have signed a memorandum of understanding to repatriate those refugees. “UNHCR is also ready to support us. There is a budget allocated to this project”, he said.
As for Anicet Niyonkuru, Executive Secretary of the opposition platform in exile-CNARED, he says the agreement signed between the Burundian and Tanzanian governments aims to repatriate refugees “by force”.

“The Tanzanian government has ratified the international conventions protecting refugees. It shouldn’t therefore sign an agreement to repatriate refugees who are not willing to return,” he says.

Since Burundi plunged into the 2015 crisis, UNHCR reported 342,864 refugees living in the neighboring countries as of 31 July 2019. Tanzania shelters the biggest number of them (183,707). Rwanda is home to 71,490 refugees, the DRC and Uganda have respectively 45,336 and 42,334 refugees. The Burundian government reports that over 78,000 people have already returned.