Displaced people (file photo): At least 70,000 Rwandans are expected to return before the UN invokes the Cessation Clause on Rwandan refugees next June.
The government of Rwanda and One UN yesterday launched a joint program to sustainably return and reintegrate Rwandan returnees. The move follows the implementation of the cessation clause, which comes into effect on June 30, 2013.
According to the minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, returnees are a special group that needs specific opportunities and programs to facilitate them catch up with the attained progress after several years they have spent in exile without right to any
“The idea for this program goes back t 2009, from the recognition that despite all efforts by the government, the needs for returnees were still not fully supplied,” he said in Kigali.
“The number of Rwandan refugees returning is expected to peak with an estimated 30,000 individuals in 2013, and a further 20,000 in 2014,” said Neimah Warsame, UNHCR country representative.
In response to the recommendation of December 31, 2011 to declare the cessation clause for Rwandan refugees, Rwanda’s government with One UN have adopted a multidisciplinary approach which aims to support returnees in all relevant aspects of their lives, including access to land, justice, health services, education and appropriate housing facilities, as well as agricultural and livelihood support.
In September 2011, the estimated number of Rwandan refugees in Africa stood at 100,115 and the number outside Africa at 9,065. This joint program seeks to meet the reintegration needs of some 60,000 returnees who may return in the next two years.
“The return and reintegration process is ongoing and on behalf of the UN, I am personally committed to support this important program because it provides a durable and satisfying solution to the problem of the Rwandan refugees,” said Mr Lamin Manney UN resident coordinator in Rwanda.
The joint program for sustainable return and reintegration of Rwandan returnees’ overall objectives are to ensure the peaceful, safe and sustainable reintegration of all returnees into their communities, promote access to basic amenities such as health and education as well as livelihood support.
“Attention will be given to peace building, gender equality, women and children’s rights. Other vital considerations, such as access to land and justice will also be addressed,” said Minister Gatsinzi.
The program will also help to facilitate effective and peaceful cohabitation between returnees and local population in their communities.