GITEGA June 21st (ABP) – On the eve of the celebration of the day dedicated to refugees from all over the world, the Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Mr. Gervais Ndirakobuca, released a statement on Saturday, June 19 2021, through which he wished the refugees living in Burundi joy, happiness, peace and prosperity. He asked the Burundian refugees to return to their native country to join their efforts with those of their brothers in order to contribute to the integral development of their country. He reassured Burundi’s attachment to international conventions relating to the protection and assistance to refugees to which it officially subscribed.
Mr. Ndirakobuca said that as of May 31 of the current year, Burundi had a total number of 4,942 asylum seekers and 76,682 refugees.
Since 2017 as of May 31, 2021, 158,312 Burundian refugees have been repatriated from neighboring countries, he continued to say. He added that there are 763 people at risk of statelessness.
According to the Minister of the Interior, all those refugees have identification documents and can move freely throughout the Burundi national territory.
The government of Burundi further encourages refugees recognized on the national territory to follow the Burundian curriculum for a good harmonization of the education systems in order to allow a good integration of the refugees in Burundi. He continued to say that in order to promote peaceful cohesion between refugees and host communities; the government of Burundi encourages everyone to focus on activities of empowerment by evolving in cooperatives, development associations, microfinance and other income-generating activities.
This aims for the two communities to share the same local market, each with a product to sell to increase the chances of obtaining a source of income in order to respond to the slogan of the Burundi Head of State: “Every mouth must have to eat and the pocket must contain money”.
This will prevent permanent market observers without any purchasing power. According to Minister Ndirakobuca, Burundi has been a land of asylum for refugees for decades, despite its limited space and resources.
As far as possible, he added that refugees arriving in Burundi are treated with honor and dignity. Likewise, Burundians repatriated from everywhere are treated with honor and dignity. Burundi is and will remain a land of welcome to its fellow citizens.
He expressed thanks to the UNHCR (High Commissioner for Refugees) and to the partners operating in the field of refugee protection in Burundi and in that of the repatriation of Burundian refugees in neighboring countries and elsewhere for their unclassifiable efforts they continue to deploy to support the government of Burundi in its noble task of welcoming asylum seekers and treating with dignity the refugees to whom it has given asylum.
Finally, he also thanked all the partners who support the UNHCR in the field of repatriation and reintegration of returnees.