The Rwandan government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have called upon Rwandan refugees in various countries to repatriate ahead of next year’s deadline.
In a joint press conference held in the capital Kigali, Rwanda’s minister of disaster management and refugee affairs, and Saber Azam, UNHCR representative in Rwanda, urged Rwandan refugees still out of the country to go back to the country, saying they would lose their refugee status by December 31, 2017.
The two advised the refugees to take advantage of the UNCHR and the Rwandan government’s help to repatriate.
About 280,000 Rwandans are living as refugees in about 20 countries, with the majority, close to 245,000, living in the DR Congo.
The majority of them left the country as a result of the 1994 genocide, which claimed close to 1 million Rwandans, mostly the Tutsi.
Under the UN Cessation Clause, Rwandan refugees have until the end of next year to either repatriate or settle in their host countries as residents or acquire citizenship.
Those who will not have repatriated then will be required to re-apply for new refugee status.