Burundian refugees in Tanzania under pressure to return home

Burundian refugees in Tanzania are under pressure to return back by the end of 2019, but voluntarily, and amid such situation there are just two bad options for them. They have to choose returning back to home and face social as well as economic hardship. They may face possible rights violations too. The other option is to remain back in the under-resourced camps where opportunities for them are restricted.

Tanzanian and Burundi governments are working on plans for the return of some 116,000 Burundians by year-end and this leads to crunch time for the international community. It is to be ensured the returns of refugees are truly voluntary and the Burundians should get supports while reintegrating in their communities.

About 400,000 Burundians fled to Tanzania after the 2015 presidential elections. Rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza returned to power once again, third time, amid controversies.

In 2017 repatriations started, but funding shortages led to worsening of the situation. Despite such facts about 62,000 Burundians have opted to return back and the reasons are odd.

Interviews conducted by the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) revealed dire camp conditions and risk of abuse if ventured outside have been the primary reasons for the refugees to return back to Burundi.

In Burundi there will be lack of support to reintegrate them and they are also threatened to hinder chances of getting food.

Burundi will have elections next year and it is feared political violence may again occur.

Paul Linus