La Tanzanie va naturaliser les réfugi&eacut
The European Commission (EC) has signed a 4.6bn/- contract with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the naturalization of Burundian refugees in Tanzania. The funds will be spent on processing Tanzanian citizenship applications to be filed by 76,000 adult refugees who have been refugees in the country since 1972.
The refugees are part of some 218,000 Burundians who fled their country in 1972 and have since been living in settlements in Tabora and Rukwa regions. Last year, 20 per cent of the refugees indicated their desire to return to Burundi, while 80 per cent expressed their wish to stay in the country and apply for citizenship.
The Tanzanian government offered the refugees the right to the country's citizenship. The current population in the settlements is 208,277 refugees. "The decision by the Tanzanian authorities to offer citizenship is a unique and unprecedented act of generosity and humanity.
The EU congratulates their magnanimous gesture and has decided to help finance the putting of this into action," commented Head of EC Delegation to Tanzania, Mr Tim Clarke. Earlier this year, the UNHCR launched a two year strategy to bring to end refugee problems.
Since the launch of the strategy in March, over 36,000 adult refugees have applied for naturalization and over 12,000 have already been assisted to return voluntarily to Burundi. The contract was signed by Mr Yacoub El Hillo, on the UNHCR side, who told reporters that the whole process is expected to be concluded by the end of next year.
"No one will be forced, but we are sure that the repatriation and naturalization processes will be finished by the end of next year in a voluntary way," explained Mr Hillo. Meanwhile, on the side of other refugees, the UNHCR Representative said that Nduta Camp in Kigoma, which hosts 13,398 Burundians and Congolese refugees, is next to be closed.
On his side, Mr Clarke said that the EC was willing to play constructive role in helping the Tanzania government putting into use the facilities and areas left by the refugees. Tanzania is hosting 59,000 Burundian and 88,000 Congolese refugees, who are also encouraged to voluntarily return to their home countries, in four remaining camps in Kigoma region.