Three million refugees repatriated since 1994

Statistics from the National Refugee Commission (NRC) have shown that a total of 3.4 million Rwandan refugees, have returned to the country since 1994. Last year alone, 20,470 were received from neighbouring countries, the majority coming from DRC and Uganda.
Returnees receive food aid shortly before being dispatched off to their homes last year (File photo).
Returnees receive food aid shortly before being dispatched off to their homes last year (File photo).

Statistics from the National Refugee Commission (NRC) have shown that a total of 3.4 million Rwandan refugees, have returned to the country since 1994.

Last year alone, 20,470 were received from neighbouring countries, the majority coming from DRC and Uganda.
Speaking at a press briefing ahead of the World Refugee Day, the Executive Secretary of Commission, Innocent Ngango, said that there are about 75,000 remaining in exile today.

The world Refugee Day will be celebrated on the June 20.
“Many of the Rwandan refugees, especially those in Uganda, are not coming back because of political reasons, but because of other factors like economics,” said Ngango.

“Most of these refugees are intimidated by others not to come back while others have come and gone back simply because they know they are going to get enough land for cultivation back in Uganda.”

He also cited lack of information about the current situation in Rwanda and fear of being prosecuted for Genocide crimes, as some of the other of reasons keeping the refugees in various host countries.

According to the UNHCR country Representative Annette Rita Nyekan, this year’s celebrations will run under the theme “you can take away my home but you cannot take away my future.”

Nyekan said that the day will be an opportunity for the public to acknowledge the presence of refugees in their midst and will provide an opportunity for the refugees to mingle with the locals.

UNHCR statistics show that there is a total of 54,677 refugees in Rwanda who are primarily from the DRC and Burundi.

Refugees in Rwanda are hosted in three camps of Kiziba in the Western Province, Gihembe in the Northern Province and Nyabiheke in the Eastern Province.

It is estimated that there are more than 15 million refugees globally who have been uprooted by conflict and violence. Only about a million refugees have been able to voluntarily return to their homes in the last five years.

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