New mechanism to facilitate refugees

The Government, in partnership with UN agencies, is designing a comprehensive plan to organise the way the country receives and supports returnees and refugees.
Returnees from Tanzania in temporary shelter await resettlement in Jabana Sector, Gasabo District. File.
Returnees from Tanzania in temporary shelter await resettlement in Jabana Sector, Gasabo District. File.

The Government, in partnership with UN agencies, is designing a comprehensive plan to organise the way the country receives and supports returnees and refugees.

The plan, spearheaded through the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs (Midimar), aims to ease resettlement and distribution of aid to returnees and refugees who arrive en masse.

Mass movement of population is regarded as a risk, according to the National Disaster management policy, since it poses problems in terms addressing their challenges.

Last year, about 14,253 Rwandans returned to the country after they were expelled from Tanzania.

The evictees were sheltered in various temporary transit centres in Eastern Province before being integrated into local communities across the country.

There are more than 70,000 refugees in the country mainly Congolese who are sheltered in five camps.

Jean Damascene Kayitana, advisor to Midimar minister, said there is need for emergency plan to handle influx of people.

“We normally receive refugees but without a good plan in place. We are now looking for a well prepared mechanism to respond to such scenarios, Kayitana told The New Times last week.

The plan features resettlement of returnees, ways of receiving refugees, sending them to camps and how to address their support needs.

According to the concept paper from the ministry, the new mechanism would take into consideration conflicts that might cause an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries.

Contingency plan

The concept paper indicates that for the purpose of the contingency, the planning for refugee influx will be based on the most likely scenario, looking at, say, 50,000 refugees.

The contingency budget is yet to be drawn.

But DR Congo is the likely source of many people fleeing, according to the concept paper.

The concept paper warns that spread of conflict in both North and South Kivu and the border urban centres of Goma and Bukavu, would lead to dramatic increase in the number of refugees in Rwanda.

The paper further warns that in case armed groups such as Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Mai Mai as well as well as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels continue to spread violence and terror in eastern DR Congo, the number of Congolese seeking refuge in Rwanda could increase significantly.

 

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