Rwandan refugees in Nakivale and Nshungerezi camps in South Western Uganda welcomed the decision to be repatriated but the process is taking longer than expected. They are blaming UNHCR for delaying their return home.
Rwanda is today ranked among the safest and most secure countries in the world, therefore, there is no reason as to why Rwandans should be refugees when they have a home.
The country’s safety was one of the issues considered when Uganda pushed for the repatriation of over 20,000 Rwandan refugees living on their territory.
According to an agreement signed between the parties involved, the last refugee is supposed to be off the Ugandan soil by July 31, 2009. The snail pace of the UNHCR in facilitating the repatriation is making the deadline unbeatable.
If the refugees want to return home and it is clear that UNHCR is delaying the process, then Rwanda and Uganda should seek other alternatives to make the repatriation a reality. The Rwandan leaders, who are visiting the refugees in their camps, should return with a clear strategy of repatriation preferably with the UNHCR on board.
However, if the UNHCR is reluctant to step up, an alternative must be sought.
Some of the refugees returned to Rwanda a while back and these only serve as a success story on the repatriation and settling process.
There is apparently no clear reason why Rwandans should live in camps on foreign soil, when there is opportunity for them in their mother land.