KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) --
Rwandan refugees in various countries were Monday
called on to voluntarily repatriate amid concerns of the looming
deadline for the implementation of the cessation clause.
Rwanda estimates that about 280,000 Rwandans could be still living
as refugees across 20 countries in the world with the biggest number
of them, close to 245,000, living in the DR Congo.
Speaking at a meeting in Kigali, the UNHCR Representative in Rwanda,
Azam Saber, said “We would like to encourage more Rwandan refugees
living abroad to return home because Rwanda is safe and because the
Government of Rwanda is welcoming them.”
The tripartite meeting attracted officials from Rwanda, Congo
Brazzaville and the United Nations’ Agency for refugee affairs (UNHCR).
It discussed a roadmap agreed upon by the parties on joint
sensitization campaign on voluntary repatriation and local
integration of refugees in the host country.
There are about 10,000 Rwandan refugees in Congo Brazzaville,
according to Rwandan officials.
Saber, noted that nearly 5,600 Rwandan refugees in Congo Brazzaville
were born in exile, of which over 4,000 are going to school and
university, illustrating a relatively young age of the refugee
population in that country.
Seraphine Mukantabana, Rwanda’s Minister of Disaster Management and
Refugee Affairs, called on the refugees to consider voluntary
repatriation before December 31, 2017.
The sensitization campaigns targets refugees who fled the east
African country between 1959 and 1998.
The minister reiterated that upon arrival in Rwanda, the returnees
will get a sum of 250 U.S. dollars per an adult person to support
their resettlement, while children are entitled to 150 U.S. dollars.
The money is given through UNHCR.
Rwanda has already prepared Nyarushishi camp in Rusizi district to
receive the returnees, she said.
Antoinette Dinga-Dzondo, Congo Brazzaville Minister of Social
Affairs, Humanitarian Action and Solidarity said each Rwandan
refugee has option to choose among solutions and no one would be
forced to return.
“Once one has chosen a given option we examine whether he meets the
criteria for them to opt for the voluntary repatriation, or
reintegration to retain refugee status,” she said.
Several avenues were employed in the awareness campaign through
churches, civil society, and youth forums, according to the
By December 31, 2017, any Rwandan who won’t be home will not be
considered as a refugee.