UNHCR saddened at death of former President of Tanzania Benjamin W. Mkapa

Sudan. Tanzania's former President Mkapa speaks with Sudan's Foreign Minister Karti during a meeting in Khartoum

Tanzania's former President Benjamin Mkapa (right) speaks with Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti during a meeting in Khartoum, October 11, 2010.  © REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply saddened at the passing of former President of the United Republic of Tanzania Benjamin W. Mkapa. During his tenure as President between 1995 and 2005, Tanzania became host to the highest number of refugees on the African continent, after more than 700,000 fled to the country from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.

“President Mkapa showed the world the generosity of the Tanzanian people by welcoming families forced to flee their homes,“ said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “In addition, he was instrumental in peace-building efforts across the region, leading to thousands of refugees being given the chance to safely return home.”

UNHCR joins Tanzania in mourning the loss of Former President Mkapa, and reaffirms our continued support to the government and citizens of Tanzania in upholding the institution of asylum for people fleeing war, violence and persecution.