Great Lakes Region

USA for voluntary repatriation of refugees in Great Lakes Region

At a press conference held this Wednesday, September 11, the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa has said the repatriation of Burundian refugees judged to be “forced” by some people, must follow a voluntary process.

J. Peter Pham, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region (right): “The forced repatriation of refugees is not only injustice but also the violation of international human rights”

J. Peter Pham has said “the forced repatriation of refugees is not only injustice but also the violation of international human rights.”

Mr Pham adds that the US is the biggest funder of repatriation programs for refugees and displaced people in the region.

This US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa adds that the US is always eager to support the repatriation of refugees if they express their free will to return to their countries of origin.

On September 4, some Burundian politicians in exile submitted a correspondence to the UN Secretary General, requesting his intervention for the protection of Burundian refugees sheltered in Tanzanian refugee camps. They said the decision made between Burundian and Tanzanian governments will compromise the security of more than 200,000 refugees who will be “forcibly” repatriated from October 1st. They said the decision made between Burundian and Tanzanian governments will compromise the security of more than 200,000 refugees who will be “forcibly” repatriated from October 1st.

Since the outbreak of the 2015 crisis, UNHCR reported 342,864 refugees living in the neighboring countries as of 31 July 2019.UNHCR reported 342,864 refugees living in the neighboring countries as of 31 July 2019.

Tanzania is home to the biggest number of them (183,707). Rwanda shelters 71,490 refugees while the DRC and Uganda have 45,336 and 42,334 refugees respectively.

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