BUJUMBURA February 10th (ABP) – The President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Evariste Ndayishimiye, received in audience, on Thursday, February 9, 2023, the Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi, Mgr. Dieudonné Datonou and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Burundi was received in audience on the occasion of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Burundi.
Mr. Datonou said that the 60 years correspond to the inception of the nunciature in Bujumbura, it was February 11, 1963. He said that he was a bearer of messages from the Holy See, to the President of the Republic, including a personal message from Pope Francis. Mr. Datonou meant that the celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations constitutes for the 2 parties (Holy See and Burundi), an opportunity to promote once again, peace and the socio-economic development of the country.
On his part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that the exchange he had with the President of the Republic is the continuity of the dialogue he had had with him 2 years ago and two subjects were discussed.
The first concerns the return of Burundian refugees settled in the countries of the region and elsewhere. Mr. Grandi recalled that since 2017 some 200,000 refugees have returned home. Faced with this return, challenges arise with regard to their reintegration. In that regard, the 2 personalities spoke of the mobilization of more resources and support, in order to support the efforts of the Burundian government vis-à-vis its own citizens who return to the country, the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees added.
The exchanges concerned, in a 2nd time, the way to provide more resources to Burundi, so that the reception of the refugees, especially Congolese, is effective. Mr. Grandi specifies in that regard that the UNHCR would like those refugees “to be housed in dignified conditions, so that they can have a means of subsistence and are not entirely dependent on humanitarian aid”.
Mr. Grandi also expressed his gratitude to the government and people of Burundi, “for what they continue to do for the populations in distress” who took refuge in Burundi, from neighboring countries. According to the report drawn up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, some 80,000 refugees, particularly Congolese, are hosted by Burundi.