UNHCR welcomes pledges made by Burundi under the Global Compact on Refugees

Burundi. High Commissioner meets refugees from the DRC at Musasa Camp

A Congolese refugee makes facemasks in Musasa refugee camp in Muyinga Province, Burundi.   © UNHCR/Will Swanson

Nairobi, KENYA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the pledges made by the Government of Burundi in line with the  Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). 

On 21 January 2022, Burundi officially submitted eight pledges to UNHCR, joining the more than 100 countries that made pledges at the Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva in December 2019. 

First announced at UNHCR’s High-Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) in December 2021, Burundi’s pledges include committing to promote refugee and host community self-reliance, guarantee refugee freedom of movement, eradicate statelessness, and reduce the impacts of climate change. 

“Burundi has generously hosted refugees for decades and this is an important step towards improving the lives of refugees, returnees and the host communities. It will help empower them to lead productive and dignified lives,” said Clementine Nkweta Salami, UNHCR’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes. UNHCR will continue to support the government to meet these pledges,” she added.

Burundi has also pledged to continue the dignified voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees from neighboring countries, facilitated by UNHCR, and remains committed to the inclusion of both Burundian returnees and Congolese refugees in the national educational and health systems. 

The GCR, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018, is a framework for equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation. It envisions more predictable and sustainable support to countries hosting refugees as well as enhances opportunities for durable solutions for refugees whether in their countries of asylum, resettlement countries, or, when conditions allow, in their countries of origin.

The Compact sets out arrangements to ensure host communities also benefit from this support. A central arrangement is the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) where, every four years, States and other actors share good practices and contribute with financial support, technical expertise and policy changes to help reach the goals of the Compact. These contributions aim to transform the aspirations of the compact into positive changes in the lives of refugees. The first GRF took place in December 2019 and was a true milestone in building solidarity with the world’s refugees and the countries and communities that host them. 

“Burundi’s commitments and contributions as part of the Global Compact on Refugees are a strong testimony to the government’s willingness to join all partners’ efforts towards supporting humanitarian assistance in the country,” said Gervais Ndirakobuca, Burundi’s Minister of Interior, of Public Safety and Community Development. 

Burundi hosts over 86,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Moreover, since 2017, UNHCR has facilitated the voluntary return of nearly 187,000 Burundian refugees from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya. Some 800 people in Burundi are at risk of statelessness.

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