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Assistant High Commissioner in Tanzania

Briefing notes

Assistant High Commissioner in Tanzania

6 April 2004

Assistant High Commissioner Kamel Morjane is wrapping up the final leg of his week-long mission to Burundi and Tanzania, where he is reviewing the return of Burundian refugees. The repatriation operation has picked up pace with the recent ceasefire and power-sharing agreement in Burundi.

Mr. Morjane, in charge of UNHCR's operations worldwide, repeatedly stressed UNHCR's commitment to the Burundi repatriation programme in his meetings with authorities in Bujumbura last week, and with refugees and returnees. The programme, which is supported by a global repatriation plan, about to be finalised, could help half a million Burundian refugees return and reintegrate over the next three years. While in Burundi, the Assistant High Commissioner met with President Domitien Ndayizeye, senior government officials, members of the diplomatic community and other aid agencies last week.

Over the weekend, he welcomed a convoy of 557 returning refugees at the Gisuru border with Tanzania. UNHCR is expanding its presence in Burundi as more and more refugees express a desire to go home.

The Assistant High Commissioner then crossed into Tanzania and visited several camps for Burundian refugees in Kibondo and Kasulu. Today, he is scheduled to visit two reception centres located near Lake Tanganyika for exiles from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. He will later fly to Dar-es-Salaam for meetings tomorrow with the authorities, before heading back to Geneva on Thursday morning.

His visit comes just five months after High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers travelled to the country last November. Mr. Morjane said this underlines the importance UNHCR is giving to the operation in Burundi. Since 2001, approximately 195,500 Burundian refugees have returned home from Tanzania. Some 28,000 of them have returned so far this year. We are planning to facilitate the return of at least 150,000 Burundian refugees from Tanzania in 2004.