Meheba (Zambia): 3rd host country, an illusion for Burundian refugees

Meheba (Zambia): 3rd host country, an illusion for Burundian refugees

Several Burundian refugees from the Meheba camp in Zambia yearn for a third host country, especially the sick. However, the UNHCR speaks to them of illusion, especially since they have not even spent ten years in this camp. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Local community leaders at Meheba camp in Zambia say there are Burundians who have illnesses that require referral to a third host country but the UNHCR does not allow them.

“Some have fallen ill while here, others are victims of torture inflicted on them in their country of origin before fleeing. We plead for them to be referred to Europe or the USA, for example, to receive treatment, but the UNHCR does not accept it. The third host country is almost an illusion for us while the UNHCR always tells us that there are countries that can host this kind of case”, they lament.

However, they affirm that for the Congolese, facilities are visible.

“There is a situation of unfair treatment here because the Congolese more generally members of the Banyamulenge community, if they are declared by their families in the USA or in Europe, they leave without hindrance. In any case, each quarter, there are departures. While for us, the path is almost closed”, lament Burundian refugees.

They come to believe that the referral is made on the basis of “favoritism, nepotism or corruption”.

“We ask that the year 2023 be a year of change”.

The UNHCR explains that cases are treated individually and that “generally resettlement is granted after ten years spent in the camp and if their country of origin does not claim voluntary repatriation for the refugee”.

“It is not true, because Congolese are referred even after three years, in any case less than five years. At the very least, the medical commission should not be exploited or corrupt”, suggest refugees.

The latter also demand that there be several awareness meetings, arguing that a year can pass without any meeting being held by the UNHCR to listen to the grievances of exiled people.

Meheba is a camp located in a small forest in northwestern Zambia, hosting more than 27,000 refugees, including more than two thousand Burundians.

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