UNHCR Chief visits Tanzania

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi visited Tanzania in early February and ended his mission with a call for greater investment in Kigoma Region where 330,000 Congolese and Burundian refugees are currently being hosted. Citing Tanzania as “one of the most important refugee asylum countries in Africa,” Mr. Grandi expressed his satisfaction with the government’s assurances that the country would continue to be hospitable to refugees.

In his meeting with President John Pombe Magufuli, Mr. Grandi commended Tanzania for its long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in neighbouring countries, including naturalizing 162,000 Burundian refugees from 1972. He pledged to mobilize more support for humanitarian efforts and also for host community development, enhanced camp security and environmental projects, such as energy sources that provide an alternative to firewood. They discussed the idea of establishing a regional framework that would improve the lives of and find solutions for the Burundian and Congolese refugees.

In the last two years, 57,865 refugees from Burundi have been assisted to voluntarily return home.Mr. Grandi described Tanzania as a stable country in a troubled region and commended the country for its role as a regional peacemaker, urging the Tanzanian leadership to continue peace efforts.

74 per cent of Tanzania’s refugees and asylum seekers are from Burundi, and the other 26 per cent are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The vast majority live in camps close to the border areas and many have been there for decades. Mr. Grandi praised Tanzania for supporting the Global Compact on Refugees, an approach which calls for greater international support to host countries.

 

The High Commissioner of UNHCR Mr. Filippo Grandi (left) having a discussion with the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Augustine Mahiga (right). Photo | UNHCR