You are free to return home, govt tells Congolese refugees

A Congolese woman prepares a meal. File.

The Government has once again called on the Congolese refugees at Kiziba camp to respect the country’s laws and desist from lawless conduct, adding that if any of the refugees is interested in returning to their country they are free to do so.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs also says that Rwanda has no role in determining which other countries refugees can be relocated to.

This follows weeks of unrest at Kiziba Refugee Camp in Karongi District, where a group of Congolese refugees has been accused of attacking Rwandan police officers.

One refugee died this week as a result of the altercations.

“Troublesome elements in the Kiziba Refugee Camp have been stirring trouble, including attacking law enforcement officers, in the hope of being resettled in Western countries of their choice,” the statement reads in part.

It adds: “Rwandan authorities cannot decide for other asylum countries, nor do we need to carry the burden of refugees who espouse lawlessness. For those refugees who wish to return to their country of origin, they are free to do so.”

The Government of Rwanda, in collaboration with the UNHCR and other relevant agencies, remains willing to host peaceful refugees and provide them the usual support and benefits, as it has for the last 22 years, on condition that they respect the rule of law, an obligation of every resident of the country, the ministry’s statement concludes.

The Government earlier dissolved an executive committee of the refugees at the camp. Authorities say the process of establishing an interim committee was underway.

Kiziba camp hosts more than 17,000 Congolese refugees.

Rwanda currently hosts nearly 180,000 refugees in different parts of the country.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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