KARONGI- UNHCR Country Representative, Neimah Warsame, has commended Rwanda for her impressive achievements and tremendous effort to reintegrate those who fled but returned after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Warsame was speaking during national celebrations to mark the World Refugee Day.
More than 3.4 million refugees have returned home since the mid-1990s with 10,000 returning last year alone.
The UNHCR Country Representative, however, acknowledged that there was need to generate a reinforced commitment to meet the protection needs of the refugees and displaced people in general.
“As we commemorate this day, it is necessary to help the most vulnerable people and ensure that those fleeing from danger can still find refuge in any part of the world,” Warsame said.
On the same day, the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Marcel Gatsinzi, received a group of 73 Rwandan refugees living in the DRC.
“There is always a will to reintegrate all refugees into society, so you should feel at home now that you are finally here,” Gatsinzi told the returnees, who comprised mostly of young children and women.
He revealed that about 70,000 Rwandans are still living as refugees, but efforts to have them return are at advanced stages.
One of the returnees, Joseline Faida, a mother of three with the last born delivered on her way home, could not hide her excitement upon returning.
“My husband passed away shortly before I returned and the agony I have been living with can only go away with the feeling and satisfaction that I am finally home,” Faida said.
Meanwhile, during the event, Congolese refugees at Kiziba refugee camp in Karongi District said they were keen to go back home as soon as possible.
Most of them said that the living conditions in the refugee camp are terrible insisting that more efforts are necessary to reverse the situation.
“Living in a refugee camp renders someone disabled and vulnerable. There is absolutely no hope for the future,” said Joseph Nkurikiyinka, the chairman of the refugee association at the camp.
He added that depending on handouts from well-wishers is regrettable, adding that most refugees live in despair and hopelessness, with no prospect to return home because of the unresolved insecurities.
Kiziba refugee camp is home to over 19,000 refugees who fled conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mostly caused by perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Currently, it is estimated that over 43 million people worldwide live under refugee status with 80 percent of them hosted and cared for in developing countries including Rwanda.