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The project “Protection, Health and Empowerment of Refugees in Burundi” has closed its activities

ByWebmaster

Dec 19, 2022

BUJUMBURA December 16th (ABP) – The “Protection, Health and Empowerment of Refugees in Burundi” project funded by the European Union to the tune of 2,500,000 Euros implemented since 2020 by a consortium made up of five non-governmental organizations (NGOs), closed its activities on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

Those NGOs are International Rescue Committee (IRC), Terre des Hommes (TDH), Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), AVSI, WW–GVC and under the coordination of UNHCR.

On behalf of the entire consortium, the Country Director of IRC Burundi, Mr. Paolo Lubrano, indicated that this project had the general objective of supporting participatory development by providing targeted humanitarian aid, associated with the building of the organizational capacities of refugees. As a specific objective, the project should contribute to improving the living conditions of refugees while enabling them to enjoy the rights granted to them by Burundian law.

According to Mr. Lubrano, that project had 3265 direct beneficiaries including 1725 children, young adolescent girls, members of joint committees for IRC, 780 for AVSI, 200 children for TDH, and 560 young refugees for JRS as well as 3600 households for We World – GVC. It is a project that aimed at social cohesion between the refugees and the host community and had three major components executed by the consortium with great complementarity. These include strengthening protection and social cohesion, improving access to health care for refugees and supporting the livelihoods of urban refugees.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi, Claude Bochu, congratulated the international NGOs that implemented that project whose achievements have shown milestones for better cohabitation between the refugees and the host people. The actions of that project have also contributed to strengthening the well-being of refugees in the camps but also in urban areas. “Migration and the management of migration and forced displacement is a key area of engagement for the European Union in the world”, he said.

He also pointed out that in Burundi, at the request of the President of the Republic Evariste Ndayishimiye, the European Union has mobilized a new regional action, to the tune of 40 million euros, aimed at providing lasting solutions to the refugees and Burundian returnees in the Great Lakes region. He reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to remain alongside the Burundian authorities and development partners in the search for durable solutions for the refugees settled in Burundi in accordance with the international conventions to which the country has subscribed.

The assistant to the Minister of Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Brigadier General Célestin Nibona, first recalled that towards late 2019, Burundi had approximately 76,600 refugees and 9,300 asylum seekers. According to him, 99% were from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). 37,600 lived in urban areas, mainly Bujumbura, and the rest (48,000) resided in five refugee camps in Muyinga, Ruyigi, Ngozi and Cankuzo provinces. He did not forget to mention that the number of refugees and asylum seekers continues to grow. Currently, Burundi has around 90,000.

He pointed out that the government of Burundi has traditionally implemented and maintained an open-door policy and has shown its willingness to increase refugees’ access to livelihoods and public services, in accordance with the provisions set out in the national legislation and within the limits of the overall adequacy of those services. A global protection strategy has been defined in full collaboration with the government agency in charge of managing refugees. He cited the National Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (ONPRA), which is supervised by the Ministry of the Interior, and its sub-unit, the CUCOR (Urban Counseling and Orientation Center for Refugees). The latter is responsible for receiving and supervising all refugees and asylum seekers in close collaboration with the UNHCR.

He appreciated the achievements of the project “protection, health and empowerment of refugees in Burundi” which has just closed its activities while hoping that it has created a safe and protective environment favoring their local inclusion. He commended the European Union’s support for the efforts of the government of Burundi in various fields.