The first group of Burundian refugees living in Rwanda is set to be repatriated on Thursday, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.
“The group, ranging between 500 and 600, will be repatriated on Thursday, August 27,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, the group will depart from Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe District early morning of Thursday and head towards their exit at Nemba border, Bugesera District.
The repatriation follows last month’s petition, which was signed by over 330 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp, appealing to Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye for a dignified and lawful return to their home country.
The Government of Rwanda said it was committed to the principle of voluntary repatriation as a durable solution for refugees, in accordance with international and domestic laws.
In a recent press conference, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta, also reiterated that no refugee had been barred from returning home as was previously alleged.
He said the government and partners would convene a meeting to further discuss the safe repatriation of refugees.
According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Rwanda is home to around 77,000 refugees from DR Congo, and 71,000 refugees from Burundi amongst others, in camps and urban centres.
Mahama has become the country’s largest refugee camp – hosting Burundian refugees since April 2015.
The camp has a population of around 60,000 refugees.Follow lavie250