Rwandese lose refugee status


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said 157 Rwandan refugees in Malawi have lost their refugees status as circumstances that led to their recognition as refugees have ceased to exist.
Malawi government and other refuge hosting governments have invoked the cessation clause, which stipulates grounds under which one ceases to be a refugee.
In an emailed response to our questionnaire, Reporting and Public Information Associate at UNHCR Malawi, Rumbani Msiska, said the cessation clause is being invoked against a particular group of Rwandan refugees and not all Rwandan refugees.
“UNHCR will no longer consider these [157] as refugees but will continue to pursue comprehensive solutions strategies for them and these include voluntary repatriation and local integration,” Msiska said.
According to Msiska, December 31 2017, a total of 6,052 persons of concern from Rwanda were registered with UNHCR Malawi and out of the figure, only 1,940 were recognised as refugees while the remaining were asylum seekers pending Refugee Status Determination.
“After the government of Malawi went through the invocation process, some were found to still be in need of international protection and were exempted,” he said.
He said all the Rwandese registered with the UNHCR Malawi are being hosted at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.
The cessation clause is affecting Rwandan refugees who fled Rwanda between 1959 and December 1998.
The UNHCR Malawi factsheet of November 2017 shows that as of November 30 last year, 35,415 were registered with UNHCR Malawi and out of that figure, 8,997 were refugees with 25,576 being asylum-seekers.
Some Rwandan citizens fled the country in 1994 following the genocide that killed about one million people and, according to the leadership of Rwandan Community in Malawi, some Rwandan refugees are not willing to repatriate because they are afraid of facing the law in their country.

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