The Minister of Refugee Affairs and Disaster Management, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, has reassured a United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, that Rwanda will continue to ensure the safety of returning refugees as the latter reintegrate in society.
The conference attracted participants from over 150 countries to mark the 60th year of UN refugee agency, and its history on the issues of refugees and stateless people.
“As part of its ongoing effort to promote the return of Rwandan refugees, the Government promised to continue ensuring safety and security among all its citizens, including returnees. It intends to support returnees through access to employment, education and social services,” Gatsinzi told the participants.
He added that the government would provide opportunities for durable residence status for refugees in Rwanda, adding that they would take measures to absorb refugees into the national labour market, and ensure recognition of refugee schools.
The meeting reviewed progress and challenges on the realisation of the comprehensive strategy for Rwandan refugees. They further established an overall work plan, including the invocation and implementation of the Cessation Clause that is set for June next year.
According to UNHCR, declaration of the Cessation Clause stipulates that a person recognised as a refugee, would either voluntarily return to the country of origin or apply for residence in the host country.
However, the declaration of the Clause does not prevent individuals from applying for refugee status and, in that case, the recipient country will have to analyse individual cases that may warrant the continuation of international protection.
An estimated 70,000 Rwandans live as refugees, while more than 3.4 million have voluntarily repatriated since 1994.