Rwanda is set to host a tripartite meeting with Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss the issue of Rwandan refugees still resident in Uganda.
According to statistics, there are about 16,000 Rwandans refugees in several camps in Uganda, with the majority of them housed at Nakivale camp, in south western Uganda.
According to Jean Claude Rwahama, the official in charge of refugees at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, the meeting is slated for this month at a date yet to be agreed upon.
“The meeting will be held this month and we shall discuss various refugee related issues and the cessation clause that is yet to be invoked,” he said in an interview.
The clause that will be invoked on December 31 this year, under the UNHCR system, does not allow claims for refugee status after verification by the agency that there are no conditions in the country of origin that qualify for UN protection.
However, the declaration of the clause does not prevent individuals applying for refugee status and in this case; the recipient country will have to analyse individual cases that may warrant the continuation of international protection.
In an interview, Christina Planas, the deputy representative of UNHCR in Rwanda, reiterated that her agency is ready to continue collaborating with the government and provide reintegration packages to all returnees who repatriate home.
“Absolutely, as usual, we are ready to provide support to the returnees to reintegrate,” she said.
Meanwhile, Rwandan refugees continue to stream back from various countries. Last week, the ministry welcomed 183 nationals who voluntarily returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi; 67 women, 20 men and 96 children.
This year alone, thousands of refugees returned repatriated, mainly from the DRC. Majority were rebels with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, while others were their dependants.