RUYIGI June 22nd (ABP) – Ruyigi and Cankuzo provinces celebrated World Refugee Day. The ceremonies took place at the Nyankanda refugee camp, bringing together representatives of Congolese refugees from the Nyankanda, Bwagiriza and Kavumu camps. They were highlighted by several persons in authority representing UN agencies working in Burundi and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Célestin Nimbonanonabakize.
The speeches that were presented during those ceremonies all revolved around the overall improvement of the life and well-being of Congolese refugees established in Burundi.
During her welcome address, the Governor of Ruyigi, Mrs. Emerencienne Tabu, said that the Congolese refugee camps of Bwagiriza and Nyankanda, located in the Butezi commune of that province, alone house more than 20,000 refugees and that their cohabitation with the local people is in good shape. They undertake self-development projects in cooperatives that practice agriculture, raising rabbits, fish, bees and chickens. She invited all the refugees to continue on the same path and to strengthen social cohesion among themselves, without forgetting the good neighborly relations between them and the Burundian host community.
The message on behalf of the refugees was delivered by Mr. Espoir Batacoka Yunus from Nyankanda refugee camp. Speaking on behalf of all the refugees, he deplored the fact that there is currently an apparent lack of food and other necessities for the daily consumption intended for each refugee and that the endowment of each individual has been reduced until third, during the past three years. He insisted and pleaded for improvement of the living conditions of the refugees.
In her speech, the UNHCR representative in Burundi, Mrs. Brigitte Mukanga Eno, said she was aware of the concerns of the refugees and their grievances in general. She, however, said that UNHCR and other UN agencies working in the humanitarian field are currently going through a difficult financial period. This difficulty is due to new conflicts that have broken out on the African continent, in Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, not to mention the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.
All these new conflicts, according to Mrs. Mukanga, round up the list of those who must be helped, while the budget allocated to all these needy people is not increased. However, she called on refugees as a whole to remain courageous and hopeful that living conditions could improve in the future.
The representative of the government, Célestin Nimbonanonabakize, said for his part that Burundi has been and will always be a land of welcome for people in distress, asylum seekers and the homeless, and that it will spare no effort to provide them with any support they will need within the possibility of its means.