KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwanda on Friday made a fresh appeal for its
refugees living abroad to return to the country ahead of the
Dec. 31, 2017, a deadline when the UN refugee agency will cease
their refugee status under a cessation clause.
More than 20,000
Rwandan refugees fall in the scope of the cessation clause,
according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
journalists in Kigali, Rwandan Minister of Disaster Management
and Refugees Jeanne d’Arc De Bonheur warned that Rwandans who do
not return before the deadline will be treated as illegal
immigrants in their host countries.
They are encouraged
to voluntarily repatriate before the cessation clause comes into
force, said De Bonheur, adding that those who can’t return for
various reasons are advised to legalize their stay in those
explained that government of Rwanda has helped the refugees to
obtain necessary documents like passports through Rwandan
embassies and online platforms of the immigration authority.
The UNHCR had
recommended hosting countries to invoke the “ceased
circumstances” clause for Rwandans who fled their country
between 1959 and 1998.
Under the cessation
clause, refugees lose that status when fundamental and durable
changes in a refugee’s country of origin occur whereby there is
no longer well-founded fear of persecution requiring
At least 84,596
Rwandans have been repatriated from 2009 up to 2017, of which 78
percent are from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the
Congo, according to the Rwandan ministry of disaster management
and refugees affairs.