European leaders met in Brussels yesterday to agree on urgent action to tackle the migrant crisis as a result of the raging war in the Middle East. The continent, which has been flooded by hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the wars in the Middle East, is divided on whether to take in the refugees or deny them entry into their borders. Although some countries like Germany have already welcomed many refugees, some countries are still hesitant.
Just like Europe, Rwanda has been grappling with thousands of refugees fleeing from the violence in neighbouring Burundi, and DR Congo in the past. Fortunately for the fleeing Burundians, Rwanda has opened its doors to them. In fact many refugees, besides being provided with the basic needs of life such as food, accommodation and clean water, are studying free of charge – privileges that most of their counterparts in many parts of the world are yet to experience.
However, refugee camps are also usually fertile ground for people planning to commit crime.
That is why the refugees in Rwanda must heed the Minister of Refugee Affairs and Disaster Management Séraphine Mukantabana’s advice to avoid engaging in criminal activities. It would indeed be unfortunate for refugees to abuse the generosity and goodwill of the Rwandan people if they engaged in any form of crime. It is the responsibility of refugees regardless of the country where they are hosted to ensure that they respect the laws of the respective countries and also be on the lookout for wrong characters within their midst.
The thousands of refugees in Rwanda including the 44,000 Burundian refugees in Mahama Camp should adopt community policing as one of the mechanisms to avoid crime in the camps. They should also engage in economic activities to improve their livelihoods until a time when it will be safe for them to return home.