Rwandan returnees continue to arrive from DRC as Cessation clause nears – UMUSEKE – News indeed
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Hundreds of Rwandan refugees returning from many countries are adding to thousands of others who have already been reunited with their families in a joint effort between the government of Rwanda and United Nations Refugee Agency.

Rwandan refugees coming back home

According to the Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), about 170 Rwandans returned home from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday through Rubavu boarder and were received at Nkamira Transit centre in Rubavu.

Meanwhile, the ministry confirms that the Rubavu boarder is busy almost every day due to the positive response of many Rwandan refugees from DRC amid the ticking hour to close the cessation clause.

Rwanda’s Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Ms Seraphine MUKANTABANA appeared on a BBC Kinyarwanda programme calling on all Rwandan refugees to return home. She said her ministry is ready to “facilitate all those willing to return”.

Only by April 2013, the joint effort and cooperation of neighboring countries had resulted into the returning of most Rwandans to their country including the 12,000 Rwandans mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Thursday 27th June 2013, one Stanislas Harerimana, the former prosecutor General in Kigali before the 1994 genocide against Tutsis repatriated from Swaziland. Repatriation officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs (MIDIMAR) received him and members of his family at Kanombe International airport.

The 61-years old man expressed great happiness to step again on Rwandan soil after 19 years in exile.  “ The first thing I perceived as I landed here is change, thought I haven’t yet travel to different areas, but I can observe remarkable changes, to see the hospitality of government officials who came to receive me, and how around here people are moving and committed to work,” he cheerfully said.

As the much anticipated cessation comes to the set date, numerous Rwandan refugees who have not made up their mind to return home will lose their refugee status and begin to live on their own in their host countries.

Seraphine Mukantabana Minister of refugees repatriation

The Secession clause which comes into effect on June 30, 2013 will affect many Rwandan refugees who are scattered in many countries around the world but especially in the great lakes region.

With the continued gains made by the Rwandan government, the UNHCR intends to invoke the Secession Clause, under which, Rwandans are found not to have a plausible reason to remain refugees in any country.

This implies that the few nationals who will have not returned will immediately lose their refugee status and the option will be either to return, or seek nationality in their respective host countries.

In preparation for the imminent enforcement of the clause, authorities set up a taskforce that will ensure that Rwandans wherever they are, are facilitated in every way.

The taskforce, headed by the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, has also been facilitating the issuance of passports or other national identification documents to those who will not be able to return home due to different reasons.

There are about 70,000 Rwandan refugees – mainly in the neighboring countries in the Great Lakes region while over 4.5 million repatriated voluntarily in the last 19 years.

Most became refugees in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over 1 million Rwandans.

In Uganda alone, statistics show that over 4000 Rwandans refugees will lose their refugee status come Sunday.

The government of Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide, together with its partners embarked on a process to ensure that all Rwandans get back the right to their country that they had been scrapped of. This was done through encouraging them to voluntarily repatriate thus the return of millions.

In collaboration with the UN agency in Rwanda, reintegrated the returnees by providing basic needs like shelter, food, medical facilities, and domestic appliances to help them start new lives as well as offering them land.

Recently a project that will help at least 5,000 vulnerable returnees was launched and it will be funded by the governments of Rwanda, Japan and International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The project dubbed “Enhancing socio-economic reintegration of Rwandan returnees and other vulnerable groups,” will be implemented in phases and will see returnees obtain vocational and technical skills and micro-business start-up kits, livestock assistance as well as construction materials to build their own houses.

This was the fourth phase of the general project to reintegrate Rwandans returning from different countries.  The project also intends to rehabilitate some infrastructure such as primary schools and health posts in communities where the returnees are being resettled.

As of now, 8,300 returnees and other vulnerable Rwandans have been provided with direct reintegration assistance to secure sustainable livelihood since 2010 and more than 2,600 beneficiaries were trained in vocational skills in carpentry, masonry, tailoring, mechanics, hairdressing and other market-driven skills.

The UN cessation clause refers back in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which UNHCR is recommending all concerned countries to invoke.

News  of Rwanda

UM– USEKE

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