The Government of Japan has announced their support to the UN
Refugee Agency in Rwanda for the year 2021, funding the Burundian refugee response
in Rwanda.

This generous contribution from the People of Japan will reinforce UNHCR’s intervention
in the areas of health, protection, and voluntary return – benefiting more than 54,000
Burundian refugees living in Mahama refugee camp, Eastern Province of Rwanda.

In 2021, with thanks to the support of the Government of Japan in the amount of
856,136USD, UNHCR will continue to ensure that refugee population in Mahama camp
has improved health status, and they are registered and provided proper
documentations. As part of the voluntary repatriation process that begun on 27 August
2020, the UNHCR partnership with the Government of Japan will allow around 40,000
Burundian refugees who would wish to return home in 2021 to be assisted to do so in
safety and dignity.

Mr. Ahmed Baba Fall, UNHCR Representative in Rwanda commended the people and
Government of Japan for their contribution, which will allow UNHCR to continue
assisting vulnerable refugees to access better health care, obtaining proper
documentation, and be facilitated to return to their home country voluntary.

“This support comes during a critical time, as the entire world faces an unprecedented
public health emergency. We are thankful for the Government of Japan’s continued
support to our refugee response and look forward to working together to provide critical
protection services and humanitarian assistance to refugees in Rwanda, while
supporting the implementation of durable solutions,” he said.

H.E. Mr. Masahiro Imai, Ambassador of Japan to Rwanda said “It is our pleasure that this
project through our support will contribute to improving health status of refugee
population in Mahama camp, as well as providing fair protection processes and
documentation to support voluntary repatriation and realize its potential. Japan
appreciates the efforts which have been made by the Rwandan Government and UNHCR
in this regard, and we wish to continue working with them.”

Currently, more than 142,000 individuals are registered in six refugee camps, transit/
reception centres, and urban areas in Rwanda.
Over the past six years, the Government of Japan has provided considerable support to
UNHCR and its partners in Rwanda for the response to the Burundi refugee situation and
counts among UNHCR’s largest government donor worldwide

Burundian refugees arrive at Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, after being relocated from the border transit centre in Nyanza. ; Since political unrest spilled over into violence in 2015, over 400,000 Burundians have been displaced across Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chronic under-funding for Burundian refugees has severely hampered reception capacities and strained asylum space, as well as the quality of protection host countries can provide. In Rwanda, UNHCR continues to relocate those still pouring across the border, fleeing persecution by pro-government militias. Congestion in camps, lack of available shelter materials, shortages of food, water, healthcare provision and education services are all having a serious impact. UNHCR is appealing to the international community and to individuals for funds to plug the gap in what is one of the least funded refugee crises in the world.
Rwanda: the first group of Burundian refugees returns home after years of exile in Mahama camp

The Express News

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