Rwandan refugees should return home

The Ugandan Government last week banned Rwandan refugees living in Nakivale camp from carrying out farming activities. This directive was issued to compel the refugees to return home, eight months after they were instructed to leave the camp.

The Ugandan Government last week banned Rwandan refugees living in Nakivale camp from carrying out farming activities.

This directive was issued to compel the refugees to return home, eight months after they were instructed to leave the camp.

These refugees have been involved in various land conflicts in and around the camp, something that is absolutely unnecessary.

The Government of Rwanda, has continuously reminded the refugees that Rwanda is their homeland, and they have all rights to come home. The Government has even gone a step further and outlined a number of benefits the refugees would enjoy if they returned home.

However, despite all these initiatives, the refugees are still reluctant to come home. There has been a certain amount of been propaganda spread in the refugee camp to the effect that Rwanda is not stable, does not have enough land or persecution from the Gacaca courts.

To set the record straight, Rwanda is a very stable and safe country. Regarding land, the Government has always provided land to returning refugees for both cultivation and raring their animals.

And, the fear of Gacaca courts, should be dismissed as a reason for not returning home. If among the refugees are individuals who participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, wherever they are, they still remain suspects who should be answerable to the crimes they committed.

Indeed, over one million have returned home in the last 14 years and have successfully been reintegrated in society where they are playing their role in the development of the country. The few remaining thousands simply have no excuse not return home.

That said, all parties involved in the issues of refugees – including organizations that support them - should do what it takes to make sure they return home.

There is no justifiable reason as to why Rwandan citizens should stay in Uganda as refugees, yet their country is ready to receive them.

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