Burundian refugees in Rwanda should not worry about their safety
and security, the government will continue to protect them, says
a senior official of Rwanda’s ministry of Disaster Management
and Refugee affairs.
Seraphine Mukantabana, Minister of
Disaster Management and Refugee affairs told reporters on Monday
that Burundian refugees were safe on the Rwandan soil, and
dismissed reports of refugee crackdown.
She made this remark during the ceremony to mark the World
refugee Day in the Rwanda’s capital Kigali that was attended by
UN refugee agency and Rwanda government officials.
"Rwanda respects international obligations of accommodating
refugees and ensuring their safety until peace is restored to
allow repatriation to their home countries," she said.
Last month Burundian officials told news agencies that over
1,500 Burundians who have been seeking refuge in Rwanda were
expelled for "political reasons" but Rwanda denied accusations
saying that those who were expelled were living in the country
"Reports and accusations will keep coming, but we will have
to deal with it. People will continue ‘politicizing’ the issue
without tangible evidence," Mukantabana noted.
She stated that the recent crackdown on illegal immigrants
did not target Burundians but all foreigners.
"We shall continue supporting the government of Rwanda to
ensure the security and safety of the refugees in the country,"
Saber Azam, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)country
representative to Rwanda said.
Presently, Rwanda hosts about 75,000 refugees from Burundi
residing in seven refugee camps across the country.
Rwanda Foreign Minister Louis Mushikiwabo last month told
members of parliament that the Burundian refugee issue was
political in nature rather than being humanitarian.
The small central African country is home to 160,000 refugees
mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
UNHCR indicates there are over 63 million people worldwide
who are forced to flee their homes due to war or human rights
World Refugee Day which falls on June 20 each year is
dedicated to raise awareness of the plight of refugees across
UNHCR commend co-operation
with Burundi government in assisting refugees
BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) --
As the international community marked the
World Refugee Day Monday, the United Nations Refugee Agency has
"highly" commended the cooperation existing between the UNHCR
and the Burundian government in the sector of assisting
"As we celebrate the World Refugee Day, I take this
opportunity to highly commend cooperation existing between the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the
Burundian government," said Madani Tall, deputy-representative
of the UN Refugee Agency in Burundi during ceremonies marking
the refugee day in the Burundian capital Bujumbura where urban
refugees had gathered at Tempete playground.
Ceremonies were characterized by a soccer game between a team
of urban refugees and a team of partners in the sector of
assisting refugees and asylum seekers.
Other events on the agenda were cultural songs and dances
performances as well as an exhibition of products manufactured
Ceremonies marking the World Refugee Day also took place at
Kavumu refugee camp in the Burundian eastern province of Cankuzo.
The refugee day however comes at a time when urban refugees
face challenges notably in terms of access to medical services.
"It is hard for us to have access to medical services because
we have to pay 50 percent of fees in medical structures," said
Lucie Bisako, an urban refugee who fled from the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DR Congo) in 2002, living in Gatumba town
near the border with Burundi.
UNHCR Deputy-Representative in Burundi Madani Tall said, "A
pilot project has been launched to look at ways of boosting
urban refugees’ access to health services, but refugees should
not be more privileged than Burundian nationals."
Burundi hosts at least 55 thousand refugees living in four
refugee camps including Gasorwe in Muyinga province, Musasa in
Ngozi province, Bwagiriza in Ruyigi province and Kavumu in
Tall indicated that about 20 thousand of the refugees in
Burundi are urban refugees.
He added that 90 percent of refugees living in Burundi are
from the DR Congo.
Burundi ruling party to
elect new leaders in two months
BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) --
The Burundian ruling party, the National
Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of
Democracy (CNDD-FDD), will have new leaders within two months,
the party said Sunday while concluding a congress.
The two-day national extraordinary congress was held in Ngozi
town, 125 km north of the Burundian capital Bujumbura.
"As we are concluding the party congress, I would like to say
that activities of the congress are very satisfactory.
"Activities mainly focused on amending the party constitution
and its internal rules.
"We want the party to be stronger and to get more members and
friends," said Pascal Nyabenda, chairman of the Burundian ruling
Nyabenda added that the several amendments were made with
regards to the party organs.
"We will take the new amendments to the country’s home
affairs ministry for endorsement,"he said.
CNDD-FDD Spokesman Daniel Gelase Ndabirabe indicated that the
current party leaders will be "replaced" within two months,
adding that mini congresses will first be held at the village
level to explain the new amendments to the party members.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, who attended the
ruling party extraordinary congress, declared that the ruling
party is going to be "stronger" than ever before.