The European Union will support the United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Rwanda in 2021 with a contribution amounting to EUR 1,500,000, from a total envelope of EUR 5.5 million allocated to the UNHCR to assist Burundian refugees in the region.
The contribution from EU will allow UNHCR to pursue the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees but also support access to legal assistance, strengthen child protection services, and support further the prevention of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence prevention and response services for 45,703 refugees in the Mahama camp.
Under the partnership, UNHCR will also continue supporting the Government of Rwanda’s COVID-19 response plan in these challenging moments, by facilitating the roll out of their inclusive COVID-19 vaccination campaign, benefitting refugees and host communities.
The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine was given to refugees and asylum seekers in March 2021 in Rwanda.
“The European Union is a long standing partner of UNHCR and the second largest supporter of the UNHCR operation in Rwanda. Thanks to this generous contribution, we are not only providing essential protection services and durable solutions to thousands of refugees in Mahama camp but we also support the Government of Rwanda efforts to include refugees in the national vaccination campaign against COVID19, in the spirit that no one should be no one left behind” said Ahmed Baba Fall, the UNHCR Representative in Rwanda.
Nicola Bellomo, Ambassador of the European Union in Rwanda added: “The EU is proud to continue its cooperation with the Rwandan Government and UNHCR in support of refugees in Rwanda. Through this new grant, the EU will help the efforts on the voluntary repatriation of refugees, as agreed between the Governments of Burundi and Rwanda, but also contribute to improving the life of refugees in the Mahama camp, including through their inclusion in the Rwandan vaccination campaign. The intervention will specifically focus on protecting children and women against abuse, sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation.”
Rwanda is currently hosting 127,557 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. 90% live in six refugee camps and transit centers. 49% of the refugees are children, 75% are women and children, and 51% are females.
The European Union has been one of UNHCR’s regular partners, supporting interventions aiming at the protection of refugees, for those in camps, in Rwanda and in the Great Lakes Region.