As bilateral ties between Rwanda and Burundi continue to warm up, a delegation of Burundian officials arrived in the country on Monday morning in a two-day mission to encourage refugees to go back home following the return of peace and a return to normalcy in relations between the two neighbours.
The delegation, which includes the Permanent Secretary of Public Security, Director General of Refugees Repatriation and Reintegration as well as the Governors of Kirundo, Bururi and Kayanza, are in Rwanda to sensitize Burundian refugees to repatriate in their country of origin.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the awareness campaign will be conducted in Kigali, particularly targeting urban refugees and in Mahama Camp, located in Kirehe district, Eastern Province, where the majority of the approximately 50, 000 refugees live.
While in Rwanda, the Burundian delegation is expected to meet their counterparts from the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management on Monday before heading to Kirehe district on December 20 where they will meet the refugees and their representatives to convince them that it is now time to return home.
Following the breakout of a political crisis in April 2015, Rwanda received about 94,581 Burundian refugees who fled from the insecurity at the time, of whom about 72, 000 remained in Rwanda as refugees. Since 2020, about 30,317 have voluntarily repatriated.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, currently Rwanda hosts about 50,000 Burundian refugees, most of whom live in Mahama camp – the biggest refugee camp in Rwanda.