- Title: Nearly 600 Burundian refugees head home as mass repatriation starts
- Date: 3rd October 2019
- Summary: GISURU, BURUNDI (OCTOBER 3, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURUNDIAN REFUGEES AFTER ARRIVING AT A TRANSIT SITE BY BUS FROM TANZANIA WOMAN HELPING CHILDREN DOWN FROM BUS (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) REFUGEE, ESPERENCE (FULL NAME NOT GIVEN), SAYING: "They have welcomed us and we are full of joy in our country. We really appreciate it." WOMAN CARRYING A BABY GETTING OFF BUS FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER CHILD VARIOUS OF REFUGEES SEATED IN THE WAITING BAY AT TRANSIT SITE (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) REFUGEE, VENANT NTIKAJE, SAYING: "Before I fled, I worked in the province of Rumonge. Then, during the unrest, the security forces grabbed me and detained for a while before releasing me in Mugomere, in Rumonge province. After a few days I returned to my hometown where I made the decision to flee to Tanzania." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WEIGHING OUT FOOD RATIONS CARS AND BUSES AT TRANSIT SITE
- Embargoed: 17th October 2019 19:09
- Keywords: Burundian refugees repatriation Tanzania refugees asylum seekers
- Location: GISURU, BURUNDI
- City: GISURU, BURUNDI
- Country: Burundi
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZJNY9Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Burundian refugees who returned home on Thursday (October 3) said they left camps in Tanzania because women were often raped when looking for firewood, and because Tanzanian police beat and arrested men.
Reuters interviewed 10 of the 590 refugees who returned, the first batch transported under an August agreement between Burundi and Tanzania to repatriate nearly 200,000 refugees from camps in neighboring Tanzania, where they had sought refuge from a surge of political violence at home.
The agreement sparked fears among some refugees they might be forced home despite assurances from both governments and the United Nations that would not happen.
A U.N. Commission on Burundi reported last month that rapes, torture and killings by the security forces are still common, and warned there was risk of a fresh wave of atrocities as the landlocked state approaches an election in 2020.
But all of the refugees Reuters interviewed said they returned home voluntarily, hoping security would be better than it was in the camps.
Sexual violence and harassment by security forces are common in refugee camps all over the world. None of those Reuters interviewed suggested this had increased after the August deal to repatriate the refugees.
When the refugees returned on Thursday, government officials and U.N. workers met their buses to offer them three monthsâ€™ worth of food, blankets and kitchen utensils as well as a small payment of $37 per adult and $18.5 per child.
(Production: Clovis Guy, Jackson Njehia)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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