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Tanzania: UNHCR protection staff monitor return

Briefing notes

Tanzania: UNHCR protection staff monitor return

22 May 2001

UNHCR on Friday completed the repatriation of 667 Tanzanian refugees who had been staying in Shimoni, a small fishing town on the Kenyan coast south of Mombassa.

The refugees, many of them opposition supporters from the island of Pemba, fled to Kenya after political violence erupted on the Tanzanian islands of Zanzibar and Pemba in late January. The government of Tanzania has since given assurances that upon their return to Pemba, the refugees would not be prosecuted as a group for their involvement in the January demonstrations.

UNHCR protection staff in Pemba and Zanzibar are now monitoring the return. They are working closely with the government, the opposition Civic United Front and returnee families, focusing on vulnerable groups. UNHCR will also monitor the treatment of those who may be accused of offences during the demonstration to ensure that due process is followed. UNHCR will also work with partner agencies such as UNICEF to ensure that children are re-admitted to schools. No serious problems have been reported so far. We expect to maintain a monitoring presence in Pemba and Zanzibar for the coming weeks.