Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe seek resettlement

Written by Kitsepile Nyathi

Published on 13th April 2021

A refugee camp. A group of Rwandan refugees living in Zimbabwe are refusing to be repatriated, and want to be permanently resettled in Zimbabwe. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

 “We want to stay in Zimbabwe because what we ran away from is still there. We have been appealing for Zimbabwean citizenship. We have noted that other nationals have benefited or been resettled, and we want similar treatment.” – Philip Sindayigaya, a Rwandan community leader at the Tongogara Refugee camp

 One hundred and forty Rwandan refugees whose refugee status has been revoked by the United Nations (UN) have appealed to be permanently settled in Zimbabwe. Their refugee status was revoked in 2013 by UN officials who had informed the group that the Rwandan government had stated that it is safe for the group to go back to their home country. At this time, they had been living at the Tongogara Refugee Camp in eastern Zimbabwe. They challenged this decision by the UN and were subsequently granted an additional two years to reside in Tongogara Refugee Camp.

 Recently, the Zimbabwean government asserted that the group must return to their home country. The Tongogara camp administrator, Johanne Mhlanga, remarked that the group must follow refugee laws and that the government’s position on this issue will not change.

 The Tongogara Refugee camp hosts 14,940 refugees. There is predicted to be an increase of refugees at the camp as a result of insurgency attacks in Mozambique, which will further strain the refugee camp’s resources.

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