Tanzania: UNHCR reaffirms support for refugees

Tanzania: UNHCR reaffirms support for refugees

The UNHCR Country Representative in Tanzania is visiting refugee camps across the country. She reassured them of their permanent support this year. Both in Nyarugusu and in Nduta, Mahoua Parums, believed to bring about changes, has been told about grievances seeking the improvement of living conditions in the land of exile. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Mahoua Parums’ first step was the Nyarugusu camp hosting Burundians and Congolese. She reaffirmed her agency’s support for the refugees.

“I had fruitful discussions with camp authorities, refugee representatives, partners and refugees about protection, livelihoods, energy and the challenges faced in exile,” she revealed.

The community leaders of the refugees “repeated” their ordeal for the umpteenth time.

“Our grievances have become like a song, we always repeat the same thing: insecurity, the low quantity of rations, arbitrary arrests and forced repatriations. To this are added bans on the circulation of motorcycles, bicycles, trade and practice agriculture”, reassured that they are presenting these grievances at least for the first time to the new head of UNHCR in Tanzania.

Satisfactory results in 2022…

The work done in 2022 is appreciated by the UNHCR.

“Construction of 25 km roads, more than 3,860 shelters built or rehabilitated, eight classrooms built, more than 6,800 refugees supported with firewood, voluntary repatriations, quality health care provided,…”, rejoices Mrs. Mahoua.

UNHCR makes commitments for more than 247,000 refugees, mainly Burundians and Congolese who remain in exile.

“UNHCR is working with the government and its partners to ensure the protection and security of refugees. Just like in 2022, in 2023 we will continue to provide: shelter, roads, non-food items, education facilities, water, sanitation and hygiene, voluntary repatriation, resettlement opportunities and health assistance,” she said.

These promises are taken with a grain of salt by those concerned at the Nyarugusu camp. They seem to have lost hope.

“Let’s wait and see that words will be translated into deeds. Even his predecessors had good language, but when it came to advocating for Burundian refugees, for example, arbitrarily arrested or missing, we never heard their voice”, they note.

Search for a lasting solution

UNHCR explained to the refugees that gradually a durable solution to the refugee status situation must be found.

In the Nduta camp, the message is understood in a different way.

“It is in fact, another way of saying that we must return. Because, she indicated that this solution, supposes that a large number of refugees must respond massively to voluntary repatriation, that a small number will receive nationality and that others may be relocated to the third country of asylum. The last two solutions are somewhat less feasible”, reacted refugees.

Unless Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan changes her tone, otherwise her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli pointed out in 2018 that the naturalization of Burundian refugees is suspended, at the request of former Burundian head of state Pierre Nkurunziza.
The two former presidents have die two years after these declarations.

The UNHCR has said that it accuses some for a lack of financial means.

Several donors have turned their eyes to the Russo-Ukrainian crisis and the Covid-19, which has caused the refugee crisis in Africa to be almost forgotten. We ask UN partners to give attention to our requests to meet the needs of these homeless populations”, called the UNHCR Representative in Tanzania.

Tanzania alone has more than 145,000 Burundian refugees, according to UNHCR figures.

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