With dysfunctional states, the displacement and the general refugee crisis in Africa will never come to an end.
According to a United Nations High commission for refugees (UNHCR) report, the refugee challenge in the 21st century is changing rapidly. People are forced to flee their homes due to increasingly complicated and interlinked reasons.
Millions of people worldwide are already uprooted by violence and persecution, and it is likely that the future, will see more people on the run as a growing number of compounding push factors create conditions for further forced displacement.
Today people do not just flee political instabilities in their countries but the persecution, injustice, discrimination, racism and other factors which violate their rights.
This is further evidenced by a message from the United Nations High Commissioner, (UNHCR), for Refugees António Guterres, who says, “conflict today may be motivated by politics, but looking deeper it can also be about poverty, bad governance, climate change leading to competition for scarce resources”.
He further adds, “challenges, continue to emerge as new forms of conflicts and violence escalate. We therefore need to understand better the underlying causes of refugees”. In fact Rwanda is host to refugees from various African countries.
“The country is experiencing an influx of refugees and asylum seekers. Rwanda is accommodating refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundian refuges and others from Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Angola”, says JoAnna Pollonais the external relations officer for UNHCR in Rwanda.
Refugees from the DRC, are currently residing in the following camps - Gihembe, Nyabiheke, Kiziba, Nkamira and Nyagatare. While Burudian refugees stay in Kigeme camp in the Southern part of the country.
The UNHCR Rwanda fact sheet of 31, May 2008 indicates that 703 asylum seekers and 55,632 refugees are being hosted by Rwanda.
Interestingly, the fact sheet also shows countries which are hosting Rwandans, who ironically fled justice for the crimes they committed during the 1994 Tutsi genocide.
A number of Rwandans who were involved in the genocide did not only manage to flee to America and Europe but also sought refuge in Africa.
Unfortunately, most of them claim to be fleeing political persecutions, like other refugees who are genuine victims of bad politics like those of Zimbabwe.
Such Rwandan refugees are found in the following countries; Cameroon, Mozambique, Congo Brazzaville, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
Refugees do not necessarily receive good treatment in the countries that host them.
Examples of maltreatment and persecutions can be witnessed in South Africa, where refugees were recently persecuted, in an out-break of xenophobia.
In such a situation some people have been forced to risk going back to the volatile situations in their countries. And others have opted for the reverse.
But either way is wrong and a lasting solution should be thought of by African leaders, especially in their efforts at building a united Africa, that is set to dismantle colonial boundaries.
In addition, the fact that some refugees are enjoying the warm hospitality in countries that host them is not enough reason to keep them as permanent refugees.
Recently, during the United Nations World Refugees Day, Annet R. Nyekan, country director, of the UNHCR said that refugees in Rwanda assimilate easily with other people in the society.
This she said was not enough as good hospitality is only a temporary solution and what is needed is a long lasting one.
Baju Kashilembo a refugee who is staying at Gisozi in the Gasabo district, Kigali City, is one refugee enjoying his status.
He says that he is happy as a refugee, since he has benefited from the UNHCR, education program that has helped him complete his education.
However, a number of refugees called for more support from the UNHCR and its partners. Some of these refugees are demanding help to complete their education, among other needs.
Despite the efforts of the UNHCR, her partners and African nations, combating the issue of refugees is still a big problem.
This global refugee problem is unbearable, African leaders should start addressing its causes, for it is wrong to treat symptoms instead of treating the disease itself. The issue of refugees is a result of political failures of particular African states.