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Questions over Rwandan refugees’ status in Malawi

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The leadership of the Rwandan Community in Malawi has said some Rwandan refugees staying in Malawi are not willing to repatriate because they are afraid of facing the law in their country.
President of the Rwandan Community in the country, Ndatinya Livingstone, said some of the Rwandan refugees in the country committed crimes in that country and they do not want to take heed of the call for repatriation.
The Rwandans who failed to declare their interest in going back to Rwanda are supposed to acquire documents that will enable them to be part of the host countries as their refugee status will be stripped off following the announcement to repatriate.
“There are some people who are willing to go. But some are not willing because there are some ring leaders among them who are telling them not to go. Some of these people are holding others to ransom because of their own crimes,” Livingstone said.
Livingstone said one of the Rwandese at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District told him that there are some 400 Rwandese who registered to go back to Rwanda but that number is too little for about 9, 000 Rwandese staying in the country.
“UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] and the host countries are better placed to know what to do on the issue,” he said.
Asked on the Malawi government position on the status of Rwandan refugees in the country, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Cecelia Chazama, referred us to UNHCR.
“From your explanation on what you have heard or read, it is UNHCR which has the right information,” Chazama said.
UNHCR officials were not readily available for their stand on the matter and the Country Representative Monique Ekoko is reportedly outside the country.
Since 2011, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees in Rwanda had been carrying out activities aimed at encouraging Rwandan Refugees who are still living in exile to repatriate before the coming into effect of the Comprehensive Solutions Strategy, or Cessation Clause, on the last day of the just ended year.
But there are some Rwandans who are still living in host countries such as Malawi under the refugee status and Minister of Disaster Management and Refugees in Rwanda, Jean d’Arc, encouraged them to repatriate or get necessary documents allowing them to legally live in host countries.
Such people will no longer get support from international humanitarian organisations.
According to international conventions, once the refugee status of a person is abolished, support also ceases.

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