UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, together with its 36 humanitarian and development partners, today launched a funding appeal of US$290 million to assist more than 300,000 refugees from Burundi in the neighbouring countries.
As the Burundi refugee crisis approaches its sixth year, some 367,000 Burundian refugees are being generously hosted by Tanzania (168,000), Rwanda (73,000), Uganda (48,000) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (47,000).
The Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan aims to provide critical support in 2020 to some 326,000 refugees, in need of shelter, healthcare and schooling.
‘‘The situation in Burundi remains complex. Though overall security has improved, significant human rights concerns persist,’’ said Clementine Nkweta Salami, UNHCR Director for the Regional Bureau for East and Horn of Africa. “At the same time, hundreds of Burundian asylum seekers continue to arrive throughout the region each month.’’
Even as some refugees are opting to go back home, UNHCR and partners are not promoting refugee returns to Burundi at this stage. It is working with the governments in the region to assist those who indicate they have made a free and informed choice to return voluntarily. The majority of Burundian refugees will still require international protection for some time to come.
The 2020 Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan puts emphasis on the inclusion of refugees in national systems, and integrated service delivery with host communities. It also seeks self-reliance and the opportunity for refugees to contribute to their host countries.
In 2019, the Burundi situation remained one of the least funded refugee programme in the world with funding gap of 72 per cent out of US$293 million needed. The consequences were acutely felt in all sectors including shelter, health and education.