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Integration of Rwandans and Burundi in the DRC

Briefing notes

Integration of Rwandans and Burundi in the DRC

11 July 2000

The last camp of Rwandan and Burundi refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be closed next month after the upcoming transfer and integration of 1,500 Rwandans and Burundi on farmland allocated by local authorities. UNHCR is making final preparations for the move from the three-year old camp in Mbuji Mayi, in Eastern Kasai Province, to villages 130 km south of the city. The transfer by truck and rail of the 1,200 Rwandans and 300 Burundi will begin by the end of July and should be completed before the beginning of the next planting season in mid-August.

The group from Mbuji Mayi will receive farming tools, basic relief items and a one-time three-month food ration. The provincial Governor and traditional chief have allocated land in four villages in the Mwene Ditu area, and UNHCR will give support schools and health centres in the receiving communities.

With the closure in the camp in Mbuji Mayi, UNHCR now only assists a group of unaccompanied Rwandan and Burundi children in Kinshasa, and around 200 urban refugees in Bukavu. UNHCR closed its office and a refugee site in Mbandaka on 30 April of this year after flying the last 65 unaccompanied Rwandan refugee children to Kinshasa. Efforts to reunite the children with family members continue.

An estimated 60,000 Rwandans and 20,000 Burundi are thought to remain in inaccessible areas of eastern DRC. Some people are still coming forward for voluntary repatriation. UNHCR flew 1,300 volunteers home to Rwanda from Mbuji Mayi between June and October 1997. Rwandans and Burundi who did not want to repatriate have been at the site since as UNHCR looked for long-term solutions for the group.