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United Republic of Tanzania: Burundian Refugee Voluntary Repatriation Operation (May 2019)

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Tanzania
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UNHCR
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Reporting period: May 2019

Background

On 31 August 2017 at the Tripartite Commission Meeting for the Voluntary Repatriation of Burundian Refugees in Tanzania, the Tripartite Commission (United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Burundi, and UNHCR) issued a joint communiqué and agreed to implement a work plan from 7 September to 31 December 2017, which entails the voluntary repatriation plan of Burundian refugees who wish to return to Burundi.

On 28 March 2018, a follow up Tripartite Commission Meeting was held in Bujumbura, Burundi. While UNHCR continued to maintain that it will assist and not promote voluntary returns to Burundi due to the unresolved political situation, both governments reaffirmed their commitment to promoting return and upholding the principle of voluntariness. With the completion of Phases I, II and III, the two Governments, UNHCR and key partners agreed to implement a new work plan to return 72,000 individuals from 5 April to 31 December 2018. The voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees will continue as planned until a new Tripartite Commission Meeting addressing arising needs is called. While UNHCR is not promoting voluntary return to Burundi, it is supporting the operation to ensure that returns are based on the principles of voluntariness and informed decisions, and take place in safety and dignity.

The Tripartite Commission also acknowledged that while some refugees may opt to return now, others may still have well-founded reasons for not returning at the present time and will continue to be in need of international protection.

Return Figures and Trends from the Reporting Period

  • 3,388 people assisted to voluntarily repatriate to Burundi in May

  • 1,726 women (51%) and 1,662 (49%) men

  • 431 returnees have specific needs - 6 return convoys

Overall Return Figures and Trends

As at 31 May 2019, 69,508 people have returned since September 2017. Below is the breakdown:

  • 35,145 (50.6%) women & 34,363 (49.4%) men

  • 39,665 (57.1%) children

  • 6,680 and 9.6% have specific needs

  • The highest number of returns were to Ruyigi, Muyinga, and Makamba provinces (15,420, 13,343 and 12,198 returnees respectively).