As the implementation of the cessation clause on Rwandan refugees nears its end, the government is ready to provide travel documents to those who wish to remain in their host countries.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government established a cessation clause that prohibits any Rwandan to qualify as a refugee after the December 31, 2011 deadline.
In an exclusive interview, the Minister in charge of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, explained that the government will ensure that travel documents are availed to every Rwandan.
“The government welcomes everyone who wants to return home. As for those who wish to remain where they are after the clause, we are ready to provide them with travel documents,” Gatsinzi said.
According to the cessation clause, any refugee who remains abroad after December 31 2011, will either possess a Rwandan document allowing him to stay in that country or acquires documentation that qualifies him or her as a national of the host country.
Gatsinzi, who was, in Zimbabwe last week to sensitise nationals to return home, said that he expects more refugees to return by year’s end.
“Since we initiated the ‘Come and See programme’, refugees have continued to return home and our embassies in the countries that we visit inform us that there people registering to repatriate voluntarily.”
The programme allows refugees to travel to Rwanda and assess the situation.
According to UNHCR, Zimbabwe harbours over 3,000 Rwandans, most of whom live at the Tongogara Refugee camp, located in south western part of Zimbabwe. The rest are scattered in the country’s urban areas.
One refugee agreed to return immediately after the sensitization by the minister.