Nyarugusu (Tanzania): the United States listens to refugees

Nyarugusu (Tanzania): the United States listens to refugees

Last weekend, a delegation from the United States Embassy in Tanzania and a United States Mission for Refugees visited refugee camps in Tanzania. It was an opportunity to listen to grievances of Burundian and Congolese refugees. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The delegation was on a three-day working mission to Kigoma, a region which is home to two large refugee camps, namely Nyarugusu and Nduta.

The US Embassy in Tanzania writes that it was “an opportunity to listen to refugees, host communities, partners and to discuss with government authorities on various interventions”.

At the Nyarugusu camp, Burundians and Congolese had time to reveal everything.

“We have said everything : the ban on the circulation of motorcycles and bicycles, the malicious destruction of our crop fields, houses and disguised voluntary repatriation without forgetting the ban on all agricultural activity, insecurity, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, the reduction of the food ration, […]” indicate Burundian refugees and community leaders joined by SOS Médias Burundi.

They indicate that they have in common most of the challenges that they told the delegation which promised to “carry their voice far”.

“We also know that this delegation was not going to make an important decision on the spot, but still it was an opportunity to advocate for the world to know that Tanzania is trampling on our rights. That’s all and it’s a success for us”, said the refugees.

This delegation had at the beginning of last week participated in a conference of the International Association of Lawyers and Judges who work on cases of refugees and migrants, Africa Section. It was held in Arusha, Tanzania.

The conference had pointed out that the country hosting the meeting also has some challenges in managing refugees.

“Tanzania is the country-champion of inclusion and has naturalized thousands of Burundian, Rwandan and Somali refugees, an incredible achievement […]”, declared Dunstan Mlambo, president of the Africa section of this association. But according to him, this country is also blamed for “forced repatriation and the failure to take security issues into account in the camps”.

For refugees, it is also another kind of relief that their problems are discussed in large forums.

“In any case, Tanzania, which hosted this conference and whose authorities responded present, will undoubtedly change something about our care, at least to guarantee our rights. We hope so”, say refugees from the Nyarugusu camp.

Tanzania is home to nearly 200,000 refugees, including more than 126,000 Burundians.

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