Burundi: UNHCR raises concerns over forcibly returned refugees
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has repeated its stance that all refugees returning to Burundi must do voluntarily, without any pressure from the governments of Tanzania and Burundi.
In a statement, UNHCR says it has noted an increasing amount of pressure placed on Burundian refugees in Tanzania to return to their home country after an agreement was struck between the two governments. An estimated 225,000 Burundian refugees remain in three camps in Tanzania with almost 75,000 having already been returned since 2017.
UNHCR raises concerns over returning refugees
“Recently, we have noted mounting pressure on Burundian refugees and asylum-seekers to return home – despite assurances from the authorities that all returns will be voluntary and free from intimidation, and no refugee will be forcibly returned,” UNHCR said in a statement released on Monday.
The agency reiterates its point that refugees should only return to Burundi on a voluntary basis, urging both governments to ensure no pressure is placed upon them.
“UNHCR reiterates that the principle of voluntary return requires that repatriation should be based on a freely-exercised choice, devoid of coercion or pressure, and that UNHCR has full access to refugees in order to establish the voluntary nature of any returns.”
Featured image: By UNHCR – http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5518123