KIGALI - With the declaration of a cessation clause – an end to the existence of Rwandan refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres, has announced that the budget support to Rwanda will increase to $27 million (Rwf 15.2 billion).
According to the UN chief, the Commission’s annual budget to facilititate refugees who return home and those in the country was $7million (Rwf3.9 billion), however, this is bound to increase in 2010.
“As per now I cannot guarantee that we have these resources, but we are meeting donors here and there to ensure that we increase this budget to meet the growing needs as many Rwandans who will be returning home.
“What has been the ceiling or annual funding will become the floor as we endeavor to pool resources and raise it to $27 million,” Guterres explained during a meeting with government officials on Monday.
According to the Minister of Local Government (MINALOC), Christophe Bazivamo, government has since 2002 been requesting the refugees’ body to lift the statute that allows most Rwandans to live in other countries as refugees.
“They had refused claiming that the country is not yet stable, but this time around, officials from the commission have realized that indeed our country has achieved remarkable strides in good governance, peace and stability among others,” Bazivamo said.
According to UNHCR’s Director in the Regional Bureau for Africa, George Okoth – Obbo, Rwandan refugees who live across the world will remain with the status until December 31 2011.
Obbo also explained that a framework on how the refugees will be repatriated including tripartite meetings with countries in which the refugees reside, is set to be drawn.
“As many of them return home, there will be increased needs as integration takes course, thus a necessity to raise the annual budget to $27 million,” Obbo added.
MINALOC statistics show that there are over 64,000 refugees living in various countries, but over the past years, the government has managed to repatriate about 3.3 million Rwandans.