EDITORIAL: Time has come to break the Rwandan refugee cycle

The Cessation Clause concerning Rwandan refugees worldwide went into force in 2013. Effectively, all Rwandans who fled the country between 1959 and 2008 are no longer under the protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Cessation Clause concerning Rwandan refugees worldwide went into force in 2013. Effectively, all Rwandans who fled the country between 1959 and 2008 are no longer under the protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Though millions have voluntarily repatriated in the last 20 years, many still live in squalid camps in many African countries; among them Zambia which harbours an estimated 4,000.

The government’s longstanding open door policy for refugees and helping them reintegrate has enticed many to return, but a small faction, those who fear being prosecuted for their roles in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, are a stumbling block.

For those who want to remain in their host countries, they have two options; either apply for a Rwandan passport and live in those countries legally or come back home.

This is a dilemma for Genocide suspects or those who have something to fear, but a grave danger hangs over their heads: the Zambian government has threatened to expel all illegal Rwandan immigrants because it has ascertained that the country has everything to cater for the returnees; security, justice and social protection.

Other countries that host Rwandan refugees should emulate Zambia in trying to end the refugee cycle that has been the hallmark of this for more than half a century. As the saying goes; there is no place like home.

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