Rwanda Repatriates 13 Ex-M23 Rebels

Former M23 fighters returning to DRC after accepting voluntary repatriation

The Government of Rwanda has resolved to grant Prima Facie refugees’ status to Burundians who continue to flee to Rwanda, try Chimp Corps report.

The decision was taken considering the overwhelming number of Burundians who continue to cross the border to seek safe haven to Rwanda whereby the daily average has gone over 800 refugees.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs said in a statement on Friday evening that the “decision to grant Prima facie Refugees status to Burundians is in accordance with Article 13 of the Law Relating to Refugees in Rwanda and the 1951 Convention Relating to refugees where by population fleeing in mass influx are unconditionally granted refugees status.”

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As of Thursday April 23, ambulance 2015, the number of Burundians refugees received in Rwanda had reached 11,000, which complicates the procedure to determine their status at individual basis.

During mass movements of refugees (usually as a result of conflicts or generalized violence as opposed to individual persecution), there is not – and never will be – a capacity to conduct individual asylum interviews for everyone who has crossed the border.

Nor is it usually necessary, since in such circumstances it is generally evident why they have fled. As a result, such groups are often declared “prima facie” refugees.

The Refugees claim they are running away from Burundi’s ruling party youth wing, Imbonerakure (Hutu) which UN recently said was being armed to perpetrate violence in opposition areas dominated by the Tutsi.

The tensions continue to rise in Burundi over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s determination to hang onto power and participate in the May presidential elections.

Nkurunziza and President Paul Kagame recently met in Huye on the border with Burundi to discuss the refugee crisis.

New camp established

In order to meet basic protections requirement for the influx of Burundian refugees, the government of Rwanda has also established a new camp in Mahama in Kirehe District to avoid the congestion in existing reception centres mainly Bugesera and Nyanza.

The relocation of Burundian refugees from reception centres to the new camp started on Tuesday April 21, 2015 with those hosted in Nyamiyaga camp in Nyanza District in the Southern Province.

“The exercise will continue till all refugees are relocated from all existing transit centres to the new camp,” said the Ministry.

“The relocation of Burundian refugees in Mahama refugee’s camp is meant to resettle them far from the borders of their country to comply with the International refugees convention.”
Thirteen former members of the M23 rebels opted for voluntarily repatriation to their home in DR Congo after the visit of Congolese deputy defense minister, stomach René Sibu Matubuka on Thursday this week.

The group is part of the 150 who have been granted amnesty among others camped in Ngoma District.

They decided to return after Matubuka assured them of their security back home, viagra approved Rwanda officials said Friday evening.

The exercise was witnessed by officials from the office of the DRC government, delegates of UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and officials from the Government of Rwanda.

Both governments signed a joint communique to confirm the official repatriation of the thirteen former members of M23.

On the behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the statement was signed by Col Rutabana, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, and Deputy Minister of Defense, ex-combatants and social reintegration, Rene Matabuka Sebu, for the Congolese side.

Both governments also vowed to “join their hands to continue to facilitate voluntary repatriation of the remaining former M23 members.”

M23 rebels were defeated by a joint force of South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania and DRC in 2013. Some fled to Rwanda and others Uganda.

Most rebels have opted to stay in Rwanda and Congo as refugees, saying they fear for their lives in DRC.


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