HRW Burundians pressured into leaving Tanzania


Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Burundian refugees in Tanzania are being pressured into returning to their home country.

The rights group describes “mounting intimidation for 163,000 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers” that remain in Tanzania following a repatriation deal between the neighbouring countries. Refugees are supposed to return on a voluntary basis only and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is assisting the two countries in relocating refugees, has warned against any form of intimidation.

Burundian refugees facing pressure

“The fear of violence, arrest, and deportation is driving many of the 163,000 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers in Tanzania out of the country,” HRW said in a statement on Thursday. “Tanzanian authorities have also made it very difficult for the United Nations refugee agency to properly check whether hundreds of refugees’ recent decision to return to Burundi was voluntary.”

The rights group says Tanzanian officials have specifically targeted Burundian refugees with insecure legal statuses and a lack of access to aid, making them more vulnerable to being coerced to return to Burundi.

“The actions come after the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli, said on October 11 that Burundian refugees should ‘go home.'”

In an in-depth report, Human Rights Watch publishing its findings related to Burundian refugees being pressured to return home and the condition they face upon returning. In some cases, refugees have been forced to flee the country again.

Featured image: By Mononomic (wikipedia:User:Mononomic) – Image:Hrw_logo.gif, Public Domain,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.