The German International Cooperation (GIZ) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have released a report presenting the findings of an assessment regarding peaceful coexistence in and around the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda conducted in 2017.
The assessment explores various dynamics of the relationships among refugees, between refugees and host communities, and with organizations working in the camp; it also analyses potential roots of conflict and conflict issues.
The findings may be used to inform efforts to increase peaceful coexistence between various communities and to deliver services in a conflict-sensitive manner. The assessment identifies opportunities and connectors that can be strengthened as well as challenges, dividers and conflict issues that can be addressed. Relationships between the two communities – Burundian refugees and their Rwandan host communities – appear to be quite good; both communities indicate having friends in the other, and would consider marrying a partner from the other community.
Around 80 percent of the refugees as well as a slight majority of interviewed Rwandans living in villages around the Mahama camp state that there are no general differences between them; instead Burundians and Rwandans share very similar cultural traditions, language and customs. Mutually supporting each other can be considered to be part of these customs, and may also stem from a positive general feeling of empathy for the other community, in part linked to the fact that many people living in Rwanda were once refugees themselves. The report also presents recommendations on how to strengthen peaceful coexistence and improve conflict resolution mechanisms for the Kirehe refugee hosting areas.
Read the full report here.