National

South Africa to host meet on Rwandan refugees

  • By Eric Kabeera
  • April 05, 2013
photo
Returnees at Gatuna border post last year. African ministers for refugee affairs will meet in Johannesburg over refugee status. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

Ministers in charge of refugees in the countries that host Rwandan refugees will convene this month in Pretoria, South Africa to discuss the implementation of the Cessation Clause before it comes into effect.

Most of the refugees are in African countries.

The United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Cessation Clause will come into effect on June 30.

The conference will be held on April 18.

Seraphine Mukantabana, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, said they want to evaluate how countries are prepared to implement the cessation clause before the clause comes into force.

“We will demonstrate how we are prepared to welcome all refugees who want to voluntarily return home,” the minister told The New Times yesterday.

The minister reiterated that government was more than ready for the returnees.

“We don’t want the dates to be extended, we are well prepared as a country to receive all the refugees wherever they are,”

How the clause fits

The Cessation Clause is invoked once UNHCR concludes that reasons that led people to become refugees were no more and that the socio-economic conditions in their country of origin had changed for the better.

The Clause stipulates that, after its implementation a person recognised as a refugee must either voluntarily return to the country of origin or apply for residence in the host country.

An estimated 70,000 Rwandans live as refugees in different parts of the world, while more than 3.4 million have voluntarily repatriated since 1994.

African countries that host the majority of Rwandan refugees are Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi Kenya and South Africa.

The declaration does not prevent individuals applying for fresh refugee status, but in that case, the outcome is entirely dependent on the judgment of the recipient country.

The conference is organised by UNHCR.


Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw

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