Nduta (Tanzania) : ordeal for Burundians returning to exile

Nduta (Tanzania) : ordeal for Burundians returning to exile

Nduta camp administration in northwestern Tanzania is conducting the census and registration of unaccompanied minors. Coming from households which have returned to exile, the kids’ conditions are precarious, they are not entitled to receive assistance. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Most of the unaccompanied minors at Nduta camp are children who have returned to exile after being repatriated.

“In fact, these children live in relatives’ families. Their parents, fearing to be deported, leave them in the camp and settle in the villages surrounding the camps”, explain refugees.

These minors live in deplorable conditions like the ones received by his octogenarian grandmother.

“I live with my four grandchildren aged between 8 and 14, left behind by my daughter and her husband who returned to exile but as they are not received here in the camp, they have gone to rent a house outside the camp.“, she testifies. She did not want her identity to be revealed for security reasons.

“Thus, feeding them is a headache, not to mention health care or schooling because they don’t have refugee status. I have to share with them the little that I receive from UNHCR. The neighbors too, as they know they are here help me to have something to eat. I contacted the UNHCR and other NGOs to no avail”, she says adding she has nother options.

With the numbering of the children, these four children have been registered, but their grandmother remains hopeless.

“I don’t know what will happen but I dare hope that they will not be forcibly repatriated like adults, otherwise these are laws that would be violated. Rather, I ask that these children be granted refugee status in order to be able to benefit from assistance”, says the old woman.

We do not yet know the number of minors left in the camp by their parents, but they are estimated at several hundred.

Since 2020, Tanzania no longer receives Burundians who return to exile after being repatriated. As soon as they arrive at the camp, they are transported directly to the border.

“Here, many asylum seekers live in hiding for fear of being seen and sent back. They spend nights with their friends. So, the ration and health care is a big problem for them”, describe refugees.

They see it as a violation of the conventions governing refugees and asylum seekers.

“Take the example of this couple, they were repatriated to Ruyigi (East-Burundi). Arriving in the country, they are persecuted, spend nights in forests before arriving at Nduta camp, the only camp they know of having lived there for more than 5 years. Turning them back would only be another form of persecution and a flagrant violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention on the protection of asylum seekers”, analyzes a community leader, awake to the Nduta camp, also regretting that “the UNHCR is helpless or complicit in the face of Tanzania’s animosity towards Burundian refugees”.

The Nduta camp has more than 76,000 Burundian refugees known to UNHCR.

Previous DRC: Congolese in process of obtaining national identity card
Next Rumonge : a woman arrested after stabbing her husband