The Rwandans arrived in the neighbouring country during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and after.
They are from 36 families comprising 65 children, 15 men and 23 women who returned to Rwanda on Wednesday 6th July 2022.
Upon arrival, they were accommodated at Kijote Transit Centre located in Nyabihu District, Bigogwe Sector.
The ceremony to welcome the refugees took place on Thursday 8th July 2022. It was attended by Veneranda Ingabire, the Coordinator of the Single Project Unit at MINEMA and Francis Ezike Okagu, the Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s Western Province office among other officials.
Ingabire has told IGIHE that the returnees will spend two weeks at the transit centre where they will provide information to have their database filled, get tested for COVID-19 and inoculated among others.
They will also receive return assistance including support funds, food items for three months, registration for national identity card and community-based health insurance for one year.
Each adult receives US$250 (Rwf250,000) while a child gets US$150.
“After making enough preparations, they receive assistance and get reintegrated into respective families in places of birth. We have welcomed and reminded them that doors are always opened. They just need to come and join others in building the nation,” said Ingabire.
Okagu has said that witnessing the repatriation of refugees who are welcomed and integrated into the society induces price to UNHCR.
More returnees are expected to arrive through Rusizi border on 8th July 2022. From 1994, over 3.5 million Rwandan refugees had returned home and reintegrated in the country (with the rest of the communities) successfully.
For the last five years, Rwanda received 15,643 returnees mainly from the DRC and both governments worked on the readiness to facilitate safe and dignified return in close collaboration with UNHCR offices in both countries even after the activation of the cessation clause for Rwandan refugees.
However, the decision to return is an individual decision and the Government of Rwanda commends the usual collaboration between regional countries in partnership with UNHCR.
Since 2009, Rwanda has successfully implemented the Comprehensive Solutions Strategy (CSS) for Rwandan refugee situation where the vast majority was in DRC.
From 2010, the then Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs in collaboration with various partners have implemented the “Enhancing Socio-Economic Opportunities for Rwandan Returnees and other Vulnerable Groups” project.
Furthermore, the Sustainable Return and Reintegration of Rwandan Returnees” programme launched in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and UNHCR has been assisting Rwandan returnees to integrate into the society and has allowed them to enjoy all rights as well as available development programs just like any other Rwandan.
The Government of Rwanda has reaffirmed its commitment to ensure the safety and sustainable reintegration of all returnees.
It has also pledged to continue to work with various partners, including neighbouring countries and UN agencies in finding possible solutions to improving the wellbeing of all refugees living in Rwanda as well as finding long-term and durable solutions for them.