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Burundi: UNHCR welcomes government commitment

Briefing notes

Burundi: UNHCR welcomes government commitment

20 January 2000

Along with other UN Humanitarian Organizations and members of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), UNHCR welcomes the commitment made yesterday by the Burundian Government to work towards an end to forced relocation of the civilian population in so-called "regroupement" sites

Since September 1999, more than 330,000 people living in the province of Bujumbura Rural, have been forcibly relocated by the government into 53 sites. It is estimated that almost 1 million people are displaced inside Burundi, while more than 300,000 others have already fled the country and are refugees in Tanzania.

The agencies of IASC agree to seek resources from the international community for emergency humanitarian aid to those affected by forced relocation. This assistance will be limited to "life-sustaining" items, including food, water, shelter, health care, sanitation and agricultural inputs.

The primary and essential condition for UNHCR as well as the other agencies, will be access and full freedom of movement for humanitarian workers to these "regroupement" sites and the organisation of a formal forum addressing human rights issues.