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OAU/UNHCR Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region: Bujumbura, Burundi, 15-17 February 1995

Publisher Organization of African Unity (OAU)
Author Organization of African Unity (OAU); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Publication Date 17 February 1995
Cite as Organization of African Unity (OAU), OAU/UNHCR Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region: Bujumbura, Burundi, 15-17 February 1995 , 17 February 1995, available at: [accessed 24 May 2023]
Comments Meeting Note: Regional conference on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes region (19950215-19950217 : Bujumbura)
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

AGENDA (As adopted by the Preparatory Committee on 14 January 1995 (Rev.2))

Wednesday, 15 February 1995

09.00-10.00 hrs.

Registration of participants

10.00-13.00 hrs.


In the chair: H.E. Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, OAU Secretary-General and Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

- Statement by the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General.

- Statement by Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Statement by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity.

Opening address by H.E. the President of the Republic of Burundi.

- Reply statement by the Sudan.

- Five minute general statements.

12.50-13.00 hrs.

Organizational matters Announcements by the General Secretariat.

13.00-14.30 hrs.


15.00-17.00 hrs.

Voluntary repatriation of refugees.

17.00-18.00 hrs.

Role and obligations of the countries of origin and asylum in the solution of the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons.

Thursday, 16 February 1995

09.00-11.00 hrs

Continuation of discussion on "role and obligation of the countries of origin and asylum."

11.00-13.00 hrs.

Problems relating to military personnel and the militia presence in refugee camps and settlements in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire.

13.00-15.00 hrs.


15.00-17.00 hrs.

Impact on and assistance to the countries of asylum.

17.00-18.00 hrs.

The problem of displaced persons in Burundi.

18.00-19.00 hrs.

Role and obligations of the international community in the solution to the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons.

Friday, 17 February 1995

09.00-10.00 hrs.

An enhanced role for the OAU in Burundi.

10.00-13.00 hrs.

Presentation and consideration of Plan of Action and Programme of Assistance.

13.00-16.00 hrs.


16.00-17.00 hrs.

Future action.

17.00-18.00 hrs.

Adoption of Plan of Action and Programme of Assistance

18.00 hrs.

Closing of the session.

AIDE MEMOIRE (As amended and adopted by the Preparatory Committee on 9 January 1995)

I.          Introduction

1.   Following the succession of dramatic events which have been hitting both Rwanda and Burundi for a number of years, Central and Eastern African countries are now facing the worst refugee problem in the whole continent. It was with this background that the sixtieth Ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, in June 1994 adopted Resolution CM/RES/1527 and further endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly during its forty-ninth Ordinary Session through Resolution A/RES.49/7 called for the holding of 'a Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region.

II.        Sponsorship

2.   The overall coordination role for the preparation of the Conference would be assumed by OAU and UNHCR who would appoint focal points.

3.   A Preparatory Committee has been established to organize the Conference. It will be co-chaired by the OAU and UNHCR and consists of the following Members: OAU, UNHCR, representatives of the countries of the region, namely, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya and Tunisia, current Chairman of the OAU. Other members would come from the European Union, observers to the Arusha Peace Process (i.e. USA, France, Germany and Belgium), the Netherlands, Canada and Nordic countries as well as the Secretariat of the Economic Community of Countries of Great Lakes (CEPGL). The Preparatory Committee meeting will be open to Observers.

III. Objectives

(i)   to highlight the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the region;

(ii)  to consider, with regard to repatriation and safety of refugees and returnees, the following:

(a)  how to guarantee security and order within the camps;

(b)  how to devise and implement plans for the safe return of refugees and safe reintegration of returnees and displaced persons;

(c)  roles of the countries of asylum and countries of origin.

(iii) to sensitize the international community to the adverse socio-economic and environmental impact of the problem of refugees and displaced persons in the region;

(iv) to address the root-causes of the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the region and find durable solutions;

(v)  to examine the impact on the civilian population caused by the presence of military personnel and militia in refugee camps and settlements and to formulate plans to guarantee security in camps;

(vi) to mobilize resources in support of the affected countries in order to strengthen their economic and social infrastructures and redress the environmental damage;

(vii)            to appeal to the international community to provide material and human resources to assist the refugees, returnees and displaced persons;

(viii)            to appeal to the international organizations and agencies that have programmes in the region to mobilize additional resources in order to assist refugees, returnees and displaced persons.

IV.       Documentation

4.   This will be decided by the Preparatory Committee but may cover the following:

(i)   Comprehensive Report on Refugees emanating from the Region (UNHCR)

(ii)  Document on Repatriation including the Role of the Host Countries and Countries of Origin (UNHCR)

(iii) A Report on Internally-displaced Persons in the Region (DHA)

(iv) Impact of Military Personnel and the Militia presence in Refugee Camps and Settlements (UNHCR)

(v)  Humanitarian Assistance in the

(vi) Role of the OAU in the Region (OAU)

(vii)      Presentations by the Governments of Burundi and Rwanda

(viii)      Presentations by affected countries.

V.         Participation

5.   It is proposed that the following may be invited to attend the Conference:

(i)   Countries of the Region (i.e. Burundi, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zaire, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia, Tunisia); All Members of the Commission of Twenty on Refugees.

(ii)  Five Members of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR Programme.

(iii) List of Potential Donors. This will be finalized after the Round Table Conference on Rwanda scheduled for 17 January 1995 in Geneva, Switzerland.

(iv) Economic Community for Central African States and African Development Bank (ADP).

(v)  President of the United Nations General Assembly, Chairman of the Security Council, Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Representative in Burundi, UN Special Representative in Rwanda, DHA, ICRC, UNDP, UNESCO, WFP, UNICEF, WHO and UNAMIR.

(vi) ICVA, Indigenous NGO's Representatives, NGO's Coordinating Committee from Rwanda, Burundi, United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, Representatives from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Venue: Bujumbura, Burundi.



Monsieur le Président,

Monsieur le Premier Ministre,

Monsieur le Secrétaire général de l'OUA,

Madame le Haut Commissaire aux réfugiés,

Mesdames, Messieurs,

Vous êtes réunis aujourd'hui pour vous pencher sur le problème des réfugiés et des personnes déplacées qui perturbe de plus en plus gravement l'équilibre économique et social du continent africain. Sur les quelques 23 millions de réfugiés dans le monde, l'Afrique en compte, plus que tout autre continent, 7,4 millions. Le phénomène ne cesse de s'étendre et, si des mesures appropriées ne sont pas prises le plus rapidement possible, il pourrait gravement compromettre l'avenir du continent tout entier. La première de ces ,mesures est la recherche de toutes les conditions de stabilité politique qui passent nécessairement par plus de justice, plus de démocratie, et plus de développement socio-économique dans les pays de la région.

L'Afrique centrale compte malheureusement parmi les sous-régions les plus affectées du continent. Ce n'est donc pas un hasard si cette réunion se tient à Bujumbura.

En organisant cette conférence régionale sur les réfugiés, les rapatriés et les personnes déplacées, l'Organisation de l'Unité Africaine et le Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés entendent rattraper l'histoire. C'est pourquoi nous en saluons l'initiative et saisissons l'occasion pour exprimer notre gratitude au Gouvernement du Burundi pour la part décisive qu'il a prise dans l'organisation de ces assises.

Les événements survenus au Rwanda l'année dernière, et les énormes vagues de réfugiés et de personnes déplacées qu'ils ont entraînées, ont mis en évidence la nécessité, non seulement de se pencher sur le problème de ces réfugiés, mais également de s'attaquer aux causes profondes du mal.

Jamais plus, les peuples de cette région ne doivent permettre le blocage de leur développement en laissant le désastre politique et humanitaire s'installer par le biais d'une ethnicité obtue et suicidaire. De même, la communauté internationale, forte de l'expérience malheureuse du Rwanda, doit faire valoir qu'il est de son devoir de prévenir désormais et d'empêcher de nouvelles possibilités d'affrontement et de contenir ainsi le syndrome ethnique qui semble affecter la sous-région.

Le Rwanda comme le Burundi sont à un tournant décisif de leur histoire. Il est illusoire de penser que les rancoeurs accumulées vont se dissiper immédiatement. La réconciliation nationale sera lente et fragile. Cependant, il nous faut surmonter les obstacles qui subsistent, il nous faut faire preuve de détermination, d'imagination, de bonne volonté et, pourquoi pas, d'audace.

Il faut mettre en place le Tribunal international afin de traduire en justice les personnes soupçonnées au Rwanda de s'être rendues coupables de génocide, de massacres et d'autres crimes contre l'humanité. Il est tout aussi impérieux de mettre en oeuvre des mesures susceptibles de créer un climat de confiance et de sécurité dans le pays et de favoriser ainsi le retour des réfugiés et des personnes déplacées.

Certes, les dispositions à prendre constituent un formidable défi pour nous tous. D'abord pour le Gouvernement rwandais, dont nous saluons ici les efforts et que nous encourageons à faciliter le retour des réfugiés et des personnes déplacées et à poursuivre le processus démocratique et pluraliste. Ensuite pour le Gouvernement burundais, que nous encourageons à tout mettre en oeuvre pour surmonter les difficultés actuelles. C'est aussi un défi pour la communauté internationale, qui doit continuer à accorder son soutien à la MINUAR et à mes efforts de bons offices au Burundi. La communauté internationale doit également confirmer et poursuivre ses engagements envers l'action humanitaire dans la région. La situation actuelle des réfugiés et des personnes déplacées requiert la poursuite de l'aide d'urgence. A cette fin, il est nécessaire d'établir une étroite collaboration entre les représentants des Gouvernements, des institutions des Nations Unies et des organisations non gouvernementales. En outre, l'aide humanitaire devrait s'orienter vers la reconstruction et le développement, approche que j'exhorte les Gouvernements de la région à soutenir.

Le problème des réfugiés doit être résolu au travers de dispositions portant à la fois sur le court et le long terme. Les vagues de réfugiés et de personnes déplacées enregistrées pendant et après les convulsions socio-politiques que le Rwanda et le Burundi ont connues, exigent des mesures à court terme. La sécurité dans les camps, l'éradication de l'intimidation et des chantages qui obstruent le retour des réfugiés constituent, en amont, la première de ces mesures. La création de meilleures conditions d'accueil, la garantie de la sécurité aux innocents réfugiés représentent, en aval, les conditions sans lesquelles le succès du retour ne saurait être atteint. La restitution des biens et propriétés, constituant une de ces conditions d'accueil, est, il faut le reconnaître, une opération à la fois difficile et délicate. Pourtant, sans cette restitution, la justice et l'équité ne seront que des mots creux.

A long terme, il faudrait répondre à la question fondamentale : "Qu'est-ce qui divise des peuples que tout concourt à unir?" Est-ce la culture? La religion? La pauvreté? Ou les ambitions politiques inassouvies qui rendent otages des populations innocentes auxquelles on injecte le virus instinctif du clan et de l'ethnie? Il ne m'appartient pas de répondre à cette question.

Les Gouvernements africains, les organisations non gouvernementales, les instituts qui ont vocation de se pencher sur les questions africaines, les universités aussi bien que les intellectuels africains, doivent y trouver réponse pour créer enfin un espoir de paix et de sécurité durables.

Aussi, l'exclusion a-t-elle tendance à se perpétuer en cycles où l'alternance se joue entre les exclus d'hier et ceux d'aujourd'hui, chacun transmettant à sa descendance le témoin de haine, d'antagonisme et de violence, négateurs de l'unité, de la solidarité et de la NATION.

Les pays limitrophes sont également concernés à plus d'un titre. Les statistiques démontrent, s'il en est encore besoin, qu'il subissent aussi les conséquences dévastatrices de ces drames tant de fois répétés au cours de ces 30 dernières années. Il est donc normal qu'ils soient associés à la recherche de la paix, de la réconciliation et de l'entente chez leurs voisins. Tout en aidant à éliminer les causes des pressions négatives exercées sur les réfugiés dans les camps, ils doivent faire preuve d'initiatives régionales et amener les autorités nationales à s'engager résolument dans la voie de la réconciliation et de la réhabilitation nationales. A cet égard, il convient de louer les efforts déployés récemment par les dirigeants de la sous-région à Nairobi mais aussi et auparavant à Arusha ou encore à Kinshasa.

Enfin, il appartient aux populations concernées de trouver une solution à leur problème. C'est pourquoi nous les invitons au doute. Il est grand temps qu'elles doutent de la sagesse des positions antérieures qui ont conduit aux luttes fratricides et au génocides; qu'elles doutent des conséquences des déclarations et des gestes extrémistes qui attisent le feu de la mésentente. L'absence de doute débouche sur l'absolu qui est le début de la discrimination, de la dictature et de l'exclusion. Le génie des peuples n'est inépuisable que lorsqu'ils acceptent l'unité dans la diversité.

C'est la raison pour laquelle le vent de la réconciliation doit souffler, porteur de tous les espoirs dans cette région africaine qui a tant souffert des luttes ethniques aux conséquences dévastatrices. Ceci exige courage, ténacité, persévérance par lesquels l'amour de l'Homme et de l'Humanité sans aucune barrière sera considéré par tous comme vertu cardinale de paix, de bonheur et de prospérité.

Je vous remercie.

Statement of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (15 February 1995)

Let me start by welcoming the impressive number of delegations attending this Conference, and by expressing my profound gratitude to the President and the Government of Burundi for hosting it and to the Organization of African Unity for playing such an important role in organizing it.

Having just returned from Zaire, Rwanda and Uganda, and having visited the United Republic of Tanzania last summer, I am strengthened in my feeling that this Conference provides a unique opportunity for the international community to focus attention on the immense human suffering which has been bestowed on the Great Lakes Region, and to undertake together, the search for humanitarian solutions. These should bring not only the massive internal and external displacement of 3.8 million people to an end, but should at the same time help to prevent the outbreak of new catastrophies. 1959-1962 in Rwanda, 1972, 1988, 1991 and 1993 in Burundi, and finally 1994, again in Rwanda, when hundreds of thousands of civilians were ruthlessly murdered, in spite of the Arusha Peace Accord of 1993. The genocide in Rwanda is one of the darkest chapters in modem history. Never should this happen again. There has been enough violence and chaos. I therefore call on all people in this region, and especially on their political leaders, not to allow hatred and war to dominate, but to walk the path of national reconciliation.

This is not a political Conference. I hope that soon a broader Conference will be held to promote lasting peace, security and development in the region, as called for by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. In that context, all possible root causes of conflict, be they historical, socio-political, developmental, demographic or other, would hopefully be examined. Let me confine myself here to making a few comments only. First, to present the upheavals in this region as 'ethnic warfare' seems to be a misleading simplification, used by the ignorant, and exploited, as the genocide in Rwanda has shown, by those wanting to stir up hatred. The latter category of people have to be brought to justice, and it is my conviction that full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal, as required by the Security Council, is the best way to achieve this goal. Second, whatever the root causes, without serious dialogue, in accordance with the best African tradition, there can be no reconciliation either. All segments of the populations of Burundi and Rwanda, including all refugees of goodwill, must be invited to freely express, in a spirit of tolerence, their traumas regarding the past and their views and hopes regarding the future.

The international community, and especially all regional political leaders, can be of help, as was proven at the Nairobi Summit of last month, and as the Presidents of Zaire and Uganda promised me during my visit to these two countries on my way here. The good offices of the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General in both Rwanda and Burundi and of the OAU, in particular its efforts of conflict management and resolution, are extremely important. But reconciliation and peace cannot be imposed from outside. I am therefore heartened by the courageous position of the political leadership of Burundi to pursue the efforts of reconciliation and nation-building, and to refuse to give in or resort to confrontation. I was equally impressed by the statement of reconciliation pronounced by the Prime Minister of Rwanda at the Round Table Conference in Geneva, the essence of which was repeated to me by the President on Monday in Kigali. In sum, justice to the victims and dialogue between those of goodwill, in full respect for the human rights of all, should break the spiral of impunity, violence and displacement, and lay the foundation for lasting peace and development.

The two elements which I mentioned, justice and dialogue, are mutually reinforcing and should be promoted simultaneously. They should be combined with the third element, humanitarian solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, two objectives which unite us here today. The return and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons should contribute to the process of national reconciliation. However, as I said in the various capitals of this region, I am convinced that the reverse is at least as true. Therefore, return and reintegration should both result from and promote national reconciliation.

Before discussing voluntary repatriation, let me first turn to the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in the region. Last week, after having visited several refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania in July 1994, 1 was able to see for myself in Goma and Bukavu the results of the tremendous efforts made over the past few months to ensure minimum living conditions for the refugees there, in terms of basic shelter, food and health services. Mortality rates have dropped substantially since the catastrophic cholera epidemic of July 1994, although dysentery has still not been completely eradicated. Living conditions in refugee camps in Tanzania and Burundi, and for the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons in Rwanda and Burundi have equally reached minimum humanitarian standards.

I wish to commend all regional States and local communities for extending their hospitality to the men, women and children who have sought refuge during different periods since the early sixties until the present day. The international community must be fully aware of and help to attenuate, in a spirit of international solidarity and burden-sharing, the severe effects which massive displacement continues to pose on the national resources and the natural environment of the asylum States. I should also like to use this occasion to pay tribute to the meritorious work of WFP, UNICEF, WHO, IOM and other international agencies, as well as to the relentless efforts of numerous NGOs. With impressive donor support, all these agencies have provided life saving humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons. I should further like to mention the ICRC for its efforts to improve prison conditions and for the assistance provided to internally displaced persons in both Rwanda and Burundi, and UNAMIR for its role in enhancing the security of such persons and in facilitating their safe return home in Rwanda. The coordination of complex humanitarian emergencies is a difficult task, but has by and large been successful in the asylum countries. It is also making progress with regard to internally displaced persons in Rwanda under the facilitating responsibility of UNREO.

Whereas the humanitarian assistance situation has improved, conditions of security in the Rwandese refugee camps have for a long time deteriorated. Banditry, gang attacks, extortion and diversion of assistance from the most vulnerable, harassment of humanitarian personnel and the elimination of any form of dissent or perceived dissent, have marked the past few months. Many refugees have been killed or threatened. In the UN Secretary-General's report of 25 January 1995 to the Security Council, and in UNHCR's documentation prepared for this Conference, the various démarches made to remedy this unacceptable situation have been amply described and analysed. I regret that the various proposals for effective security measures as formulated by the UN Secretary-General in close cooperation with UNHCR, have proven not to be feasible.

I am, however, pleased to note the improvement of security conditions in camps in Tanzania, due to the increased and professional involvement of the Tanzanian police. Thanks to the support of the Government of the Netherlands in particular, which is channeled and coordinated through UNHCR, the Tanzanian police contingent will hopefully be further strengthened shortly. In Burundi, the situation in the refugee camps seems to be stable, since the vicious armed attack on one of the camps in November 1994. In Zaire, the refugee leadership has recently shown an increased level of cooperation. At last, the entire refugee population in the Goma camps could be counted and registered. A very welcome development is the conclusion, on 27 January 1995, of an agreement between the Government of Zaire and UNHCR regarding the deployment of 1,500 Zairean security personnel, to work in close liaison with the technical and monitoring team of 50 international security advisers of UNHCR. During my visit to Gbadolithe last week, the President of Zaire assured me of his country's commitment to this plan. Last Sunday I witnessed the deployment in Goma of a first Zairean security force of 100 men. I am encouraged by the forthcoming deployment of 16 Dutch experts who will be arriving next week. I call on the international community here present to provide the necessary logistical and financial support as requested by my Office, as soon as possible.

As also stressed by the Security Council in its Presidential Statement of 10 February 1995, urgent implementation is indeed needed, because in spite of the recent improvements, overall security conditions remain fragile. The presence in refugee camps of persons having committed crimes against humanity, or other serious crimes, has given rise to legal and ethical dilemmas, which continue to be agonizing for the entire humanitarian community, including UNHCR. But let me emphasise here first of all that my Office is convinced that the large majority of the camp populations are bona fide refugees. Second, I wish to underline that while UNHCR has a supervisory mandate, primary responsibility for any individual exclusion from refugee protection and assistance lies with the competent authorities of the countries of asylum, in accordance with the pertinent clauses of the Refugee Conventions of the UN and the OAU. In terms of responsibility there is an analogy between the questions of exclusion and of security, which in this case are closely linked: UNHCR is not a judge and certainly not a police force. The exclusion from humanitarian assistance has in practice been impossible, given the numbers and serious security risks involved. The early and effective functioning of the International Tribunal or of appropriate national procedures, and the separation and relocation of persons suspected of having committed heinous criminal acts-as agreed upon at the Nairobi Summit by the countries concerned, would help in future to reserve refugee protection and assistance to those deserving it, and to facilitate effectively refugee repatriation.

As far as I am concerned, the foregoing does not mean that the international community should continue providing humanitarian assistance for years to come, under the current circumstances. The prolonged stay of hundreds of thousands of refugees in camps is not a viable option. Let us all rather concentrate on solutions, which applies equally to all internally displaced persons, and to the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. The durable integration of refugees wishing to remain in their country of asylum because of established links, or of refugees having compelling reasons out of previous persecution for not returning to Rwanda or Burundi, may provide a solution to perhaps some of them. However, as confirmed during my recent visit to the refugee camps, I am convinced that the large majority would wish to repatriate, and to retrieve their properties as soon as possible, provided they are reassured that they can depart from the camps in safety and can arrive home without fear of persecution, retribution or hunger.

In order to ensure the voluntary and safe return home of Rwandese and Burundese refugees and internally displaced persons, I should like to urge this Conference to endorse the comprehensive strategy outlined in the Conference document presented by UNHCR. My Office has already started with its implementation. During the month of January 1995, 8,000 Rwandese refugees were assisted with security precautions to repatriate from the Goma area. During the first week of February, a first return convoy of 87 refugees was organised from northern Burundi to southern Rwanda, a modest figure, but a significant event. Also recently, the number of Burundese refugees returning from Zaire to north-western Burundi has increased. Inside Rwanda, UNHCR, IOM and UNAMIR jointly assisted, in the context of "Operation Retour", some 23,000 internally displaced persons to return from camps in the south west during the month of January, a record high. It is hoped that similar returns will take place in future for the displaced in Burundi.

All concerned should build on this momentum. But let us be realistic: there may be many obstacles on the way forward, including disinformation and intimidation in the camps, instability in parts of Rwanda and Burundi, and incidents of revenge or other violations of human rights. We must proceed with a degree of caution, and assist those wishing to return at the present stage, preferably on a community basis, to areas which are stable and where an international presence can reassure the returnees, both in terms of protection and assistance. While short term rehabilitation of community services is well underway, any material assistance to individual returnees should be temporary, so as to avoid dependency and in order to revive the local agriculture and food production as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, and in order to prepare for and achieve large scale repatriation, the countries of asylum and of origin must undertake and accelerate a number of important confidence building measures. For the former this includes measures to provide security to candidates for return, to suppress incitement to ethnic hatred, to stimulate regional dialogue, to ensure the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps, and to prevent refugees and others from engaging in subversive activities against their country of origin. Needless to say, they should also protect refugees against any outside armed attack. In this context, all regional countries of asylum will hopefully also consider the possibility of relocating camps away from the border, in conformity with the OAU Refugee Convention and traditional practice in Africa.

As to the countries of origin, I very much appreciated receiving again, during my visit to Kigali, the assurances of the Rwandese Government to uphold the safety and fair treatment of all returnees. Let these assurances be repeated solemnly and publicly, also in Burundi, and be combined with openings towards dialogue with all bona fide segments of the refugee population. In its Presidential Statement of 10 February 1995, the Security Council reaffirmed its view that such dialogue was necessary in the context of a resolution of the refugee problem. As I said earlier, without dialogue it will be difficult to achieve national reconciliation. If possible, the authorities of both countries should undertake confidence building visits to refugee camps, as the Rwandese authorities have already done in refugee camps in Burundi. While the impunity of perpetrators of serious violations of human rights must be terminated, practical measures undertaken by the Rwandese government must be intensified to prevent any arbitrary arrest, based on abusive denounciation. Rumours spread easily, and withhold refugees from returning. Prison conditions must be improved, and international assistance is urgently needed to assist the Rwandese Government also in that regard. Let me use this occasion also to state that, while incidents of revenge still occur, the restraint shown by most in Rwanda should be regarded as remarkable, given the horrors of April and May last year. The Government and the army should therefore continue their warnings against any acts of reprisal.

I should like to underline that, as anywhere else, the local authorities in both Rwanda and Burundi are responsible for ensuring the physical, legal and material security of returning refugees and internally displaced persons, and of all other citizens. At the same time, I am convinced that in Rwanda UNAMIR, UNHCR, the United Nations human rights monitors and others can assist with building confidence and with countering any abuses. I am therefore appreciative of the full access granted thus far to my Office for returnee monitoring purposes. The same applies, by and large, to UNHCR's activities in Burundi. In that country, however, there would seem to be an urgent need for an effective international human rights monitoring presence, and for a further strengthening of the important role of the civilian and military observers of the OAU.

While in north Rwanda, I saw many refugees who left Rwanda in the early sixties, or their descendents, returning from Uganda with their impressive herds of cattle. I am pleased that after so many years they too would be entitled to an end to exile, which was a major subject under the Arusha Peace Accord of 1993. 1 am, however, concerned about the fact that these refugees, upon their return from Uganda, Zaire, Tanzania, Burundi or elsewhere, are continuing to occupy houses and land belonging to those who fled more recently, often in the absence of alternatives. I wish to call on all regional countries of asylum to counter any inter-communal or other pressure on these refugees to leave to Rwanda, so rapidly, and not to exclude local integration, through naturalization if requested, or otherwise, in accordance with the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration of 1991. 1 am requesting the Government of Rwanda to ensure a balanced approach with regard to the return of all refugee groups, to intensify its efforts to settle these returnees on unallocated land or to provide other forms of compensation, to publicly reiterate and implement the assurances given to the more recent refugees and internally displaced persons regarding their right to restoration of property, and to establish fair and expeditious dispute resolution mechanisms.

Finally, UNHCR's comprehensive strategy on voluntary return does not only require the full commitment of the countries of asylum and of Rwanda and Burundi, but also of the international community. Its key contribution should include political backing for initiatives of national reconciliation, assistance to the countries of asylum for establishing security in the refugee camps and for redressing the adverse effects of hosting large numbers of refugees, active support to the International Tribunal for Rwanda and national or international investigation procedures in Burundi, and assistance for the restoration and strengthening of the judicial system, for the reintegration of returnees, and for rehabilitation and economic recovery. The Round Table Conference for Rwanda having produced promising results, I hope that similar support will be forthcoming for Burundi. I also hope to be able to count on generous donor support for the activities of all agencies under the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 1995. As to UNHCR's share, there is a worrying shortfall of USD 233 million on the total requirement of USD 280 million.

I have reached the end of my introduction. In the Great Lakes Region, 1993 and 1994 were years of catastrophy. May the year of 1995 become a turning point towards durable peace and an end to human suffering. With the determination of all partners of goodwill, and in spite of the hurdles ahead of us, I am confident that hope can be restored to millions of uprooted people.

Thank you.


Your Excellency, President Sylvester NTIBANTUNGANYA,

Your Excellency, Madame Sadako OGATA, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,


Ladies and Gentlemen:

I know you will have had a hearty welcome from the hospitable people of Burundi since many of you arrived here several days ago. I wish nonetheless, on behalf of the organization of African Unity to join the host authorities of this country in welcoming you all to Bujumbura and to this Conference. The presence of so many ministers and senior officials clearly demonstrates the importance attached to this Conference.

I wish in particular to say how honoured we are to have amongst us, H.E. Sylvester Ntibantunganya, President of the Republic of Burundi who has gratefully agreed to come and open this Conference. On behalf of the co-organizers of the Conference, the OAU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I wish to reiterate our gratitude to the Government of Burundi for hosting this Conference and putting at its disposal, the necessary facilities.

This Conference, the first of its kind to be convened, is taking place against the background of the most intensive human displacements ever witnessed in human history, which took place during and in the aftermath of the horrendous acts of genocide in Rwanda.

This Conference is taking place against the backgrounds of decades of civil strife and conflict which has precipitated cyclical mass displacements and steady flows of refugees to the countries neighboring the region. The sad event which occurred in this region, and most recently the massacres and acts of genocide in Rwanda have traumatized societies and entire populations. Today, Rwanda is still reeling from the effects of those horrendous acts of human destruction.

In this country, years of political polarization have led to cyclical violence and the attendant mass displacements.

The assassination of the democratically elected President, Melchior NDADAYE and some of his close colleagues as well as the killings and massacres that ensued have further dramatically compounded the situation and led to new tensions which still exist. I am nonetheless encouraged by the determination of all the parties, to persist in dialogue. The task of lowering tensions further, of containing acts of banditry, of restoring confidence and of deepening and expanding the political dialogue still has to be fulfilled. For it is only if these societies, reconcile with themselves and submit genuinely to political dialogue, that we can move forth with a comprehensive strategy to resolve the refugee problem in this region.

We have come to Bujumbura to think together and see what we can do collectively to deal with the scourge of refugees in this region. The realities we have to face are that there are millions of refugees in various camps in the countries of the region. These refugees need to be cared for while efforts continue to find solutions to their problems. We have displaced persons in the region who too need assistance. We do also have the social and economic problems brought upon the refugee-receiving countries which also need to be addressed in the comprehensive approach we want to evolve. In addition, we have the many problems of resources, institutional deficiencies and of politics for which only the countries of this region should assume primary responsibility. It is these realities, which we must face and with which we must deal as we proceed to work out a comprehensive programme.

I do not in the least pretend that it will be easy but neither do I see any other option. The problem of refugees in this region is increasingly causing unacceptable strain to the resources besides threatening the social and political stability of the region. We see growing impatience in the region over the cyclical mass movement of refugees caused by unending conflicts and civil strife. We should address the plight of the millions of refugees as we should take heed of this impatience which is borne out of the increasing strain of shouldering the burden of refugees.

In line with the obligations entered upon by Member States under the various international instruments for the protection of refugees, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that they continue to be assured of their personal safety, have access to social services and enjoy their civil rights. Those in refugee camps should equally be enabled to have freedom of movement, to access the basic means of sustenance and the right to non-refoulement.

Of course, the refugees do also have the responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner which is consistent with their status and not seek to ferment chaos or acts of destabilization. Within the refugee camps themselves, the refugees need to be protected against the armed elements which threaten them and prevent their voluntary return. In this respect I am encouraged by the measures taken by the Governments of Tanzania and Zaire, in cooperation with the UNHCR to deal with the question of security in the camps.

We cannot at present hope to effect protection in those camps or to lay foundations for future resolution of the refugee crisis unless we are prepared to take the necessary measures to definitively resolve the security problems.

Of course the issues of security and protection are closely linked with relief and humanitarian assistance to the refugees. We need to continue to provide relief, in a way that ensures access by all, especially the women, the orphaned and abandoned children. In order however that the aid and relief agencies are enabled to handle relief distribution, the issue of their safety and that of the refugees themselves must be resolved. Access to and control of relief and its distribution by the armed elements in the refugee camps has given them added power of coercion and manipulation. This is not only undermining the whole system and structure of relief distribution, it is also having long term effect on the future of the repatriation process itself. It is therefore necessary to move to resolve this issue so that all refugees can have access to relief without the manipulative influence of the armed elements. In addition, we must urge the aid agencies to structure relief distribution in a manner that is targeted to those most in need.

Of equal importance is to ensure that the objective of relief remains that of handling emergency situation and not of creating habits of permanent dependence on the part of refugees. Relief should be a transitory stage. It should therefore be phased gradually from the refugee camps into the countries of origin, and calibrated with associated and other political processes, so that it eventually interfaces with repatriation. We must strike a balance between providing for basic humanitarian relief assistance And speeding up the process of repatriation.

Protection and relief assistance are meant to secure refugees while in their condition of uprootment from their countries and villages. While this condition exists and while circumstances for the return of the refugees to their countries remain unpermitting, everything must be done to strengthen the system of protection and humanitarian assistance. But protection and relief assistance must strategically be looked at as temporary processes and holding measures while the more permanent solutions are being worked out. We cannot look at protection and relief as long term issues. For ultimately, the overriding objective must be voluntary repatriation of the refugees. And when such repatriation becomes elusive due to the persistence of conflict or of inability to resolve the underlying problems which could permit the return of the refugees, then alterative solutions within the countries of asylum must be found. Pending fulfillment of residency and other criteria, these refugees would continue to be given the option of establishment and of naturalization. This permits the refugees to redeem self-esteem and a sense of belonging, as well as to assume full responsibilities and obligations as a citizen. The asylum countries in the region have extended this facility to many refugees. While I commend these positive policies, I wish to urge for their strengthening and expansion.

Repatriation as the ultimate objective must form the continuing central component of our strategy of dealing with the refugee issue. In the final analysis, every individual who is compelled to seek exile as a refugee has the inalienable right to return home. The right to belong, is a birth right which no political view or decision can waive or set aside. The overriding object of the countries of this region and of the international community must therefore be to work together towards promoting conditions for voluntary repatriation. A comprehensive policy must be evolved by which all categories of refugees will be enabled to return home and as far as possible with all their property. Likewise, I see the tripartite agreements reached between the countries of origin, the asylum countries and UNHCR, as constituting a positive measure which needs to be built on.

For repatriation to make meaning, it must have a direct link with resettlement and reintegration of the returnees. It will make no meaning if the refugee conditions are recreated in the countries of origin whereby the receiving centres become semi-permanent camps. While transition may be necessary as the processes of identification, registration and land allocation are being completed, the objective must be to make it as short-lived as possible. Prolonged processes will create alienation among the returnees and could undermine the whole process of repatriation. At the same time, we should see how the process of resettlement and reintegration can be sustained, as the returnees are given access to land, shelter and even to inputs like seeds nd hoes. Repatriation and resettlement being the last stage of the continuum of the refugee process, must be given the emphasis they deserve. It will therefore be necessary to see how this process can link with those of development so that the reintegration of returnees is synchronized with the on-going development programmes and the people are made to benefit from them directly. For in a very real sense, addressing the issues of development and fighting poverty and under-development is one component of the strategy for long term peace and stability.

Refugees come and hope to leave at a future date. They find people where they run to and they leave them behind when they repatriate. These people and communities are at the frontline. They provide refuge and food to the refugees at the critical moment of flight and hold the fort until the authorities of the receiving States and the international community respond. This is a very heavy burden indeed and these communities which have sacrificed and continue to extend hospitality to the refugees deserve our gratitude. They have done it out of selflessness even if by their charity they placed inordinate burden on themselves. Basically however, they lack the resources. This is why a comprehensive strategy to deal with the refugee problem in this region must include an examination of the contribution of the receiving communities and States and how they could be assisted in mitigating the impact of the refugee burden on them. They should be assisted in the rebuilding of the infrastructure, the schools, hospitals, water supplies which have been stretched to the limit and at times destroyed by the refugee influxes. The social disruptions and disorientation caused by the stress of dealing with the refugees, have serious implications to society which must be addressed. These communities and countries must also be assisted in arresting and reversing the environmental degradation causes by these refugees.

We habitually put emphasis on refugees for the simple reason that by their crossing of borders into other countries, they become visible and subject of international attention. But there are those many more who are uprooted from their homes and villages but remain displaced within their countries. This category of displaced persons need to be assisted and taken as an integral part of the strategy to provide relief, repatriation and resettlement. These people suffer the same indignity of displacement, endure the same hardship of camp life and quite often without the attention and assistance of the international community. We should therefore, see how the international community can work with the governments of this region, to bring the problem of the displaced in link, particularly with those of resettlement and reintegration.

What I have described are the policies, procedures and principles. They are the mechanisms of servicing refugees and those displaced. But refugees need not be there in the first place. They are not indispensable. They are simply an aberration arising out of failure of politics. Refugees in this region belie failure of dialogue and the resulting serious civil ruptures. In order therefore that we may put an end to refugees in the region we need to revert to the very underlying causes. For no body should be sentenced to a life of uprootment, statelessness and of wandering hoping for the charity of strangers.

This region has experienced all that can be painful about the refugee condition. One hopes that the lessons it has learnt will convince it on the need of a new beginning and a commitment to change and to find peace again. This is why we must persist in helping the region restore and sustain political dialogue which will untimely guarantee and safeguard whatever strategy may be evolved in comprehensively dealing with the question of refugees.

No amount of pleading and encouragement will restore peace and stability in this region, unless its leaders and people are willing and ready to change. They must come together in a new partnership to build new habits and attitudes, to build a new political and social culture which will ensure stability and put an end to the systematic violence and the cycles of displacements.

We must continue to urge the most comprehensive grasp of the principles and policies governing treatment of refugees. Whether in the institution of asylum, protection, assistance, repatriation and reintegration, we must equally recognize that there are principles which must be secured by the necessary political will and commitment. And that commitment must lie in the reaffirmation of our determination to work together to create conditions which will restore confidence among all segments of society. Specifically we need to work together to create systems and societies which are founded on justice. We need to put in place mechanisms and create institutions which seek to protect and guarantee fundamental human rights and promote peace and stability in this region. Likewise, we need to create in this region, societies which are leveraged on a balance of rights and obligations and not those divided and held hostage by the forces of extremism. This region must be assisted to find the middle course of moderation and mutual tolerance. It needs to begin converting from a culture of division and intolerance and the violence they bring, to one of accommodation and political equity.

Your Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a region which has seen years of fratricidal conflicts with horrendous consequences. It remains in great torment as conflict continues to simmer and mutual confidence remains shattered. The region therefore needs to retrieve itself from this dangerous fringe and restore itself to peace and harmony. This region needs to overcome the divisive legacies of colonialism and of decade of political rigidities which have dangerously polarized society and set the countries along the path of conflict. This region must be prepared to make the necessary political amendments and accommodation, so as to depart from the politics of exclusion and ethnicity which have sown seeds of endemic and cyclical violence in this region.

The people of this area need to make a clean break with the past and user in a new beginning and a process of rebirth and self-renewal. They need to set ground for the new society based on shared values and of one people belonging to one country and bound together by common destiny. There is need to build new societies founded on justice, equally and mutual accommodation. These societies should find common ground in politics of inclusion and on the need for a partnership for transformation. For it is only through the creation of stable societies, that those refugees now outside the borders of their countries, can find the confidence to return and stay and ultimately to redirect their energies from mutual destruction to collective development.

The Organization of African Unity remains fully disposed to help the countries of this region face the challenges of building the new society.

I cannot conclude my statement without expressing the appreciation of the OAU to the international community, the United Nations System Organizations Agencies especially the UNHCR as well as Non-Governmental organizations and the ICRC for the assistance they have provided and continue to provide to refugees and displaced persons in this region and the continent as a whole.



Excellence Madame SADAKO OGATA, Haut Commissaire des Nations unies pour les Réfugiés,

Excellence Docteur Salim Ahmed Salim, Secrétaire Général de l'Organisation de l'Unité Africaine,

Excellences Mesdames, Messieurs les Chefs de délégations Gouvernementales,

Mesdames, Messieurs les Représentants des Organisations internationales et des ONG,

Distingués Invités,

Mesdames, Messieurs,

C'est pour nous un honneur et un agréable devoir de nous adresser aux éminents délégués au moment où prennent fin les assises de la Conférence régionale sur l'assistance aux réfugiés, aux rapatriés et aux personnes déplacés dans la région des Grands Lacs.

Au cours des travaux fructueux qui viennent de durer trois jours, vous avez eu l'opportunité de mesurer la complexité et la délicatesse de la situation créée par les mouvements massifs de populations victimes des tragédies cycliques qui ont émaillé la vis de certains pays de la sous-région et dont le paroxysme a été atteint avec le génocide au Rwanda en Avril-Juillet 1994 et les massacres à grande échelle au BURUNDI en Octobre-Novembre 1993.

Vous partez sans doute convaincus que plus jamais cette honte de l'histoire de l'humanité comparable à maints égards à l'holocauste nazi de la 2ème guerre mondiale ne devrait se répéter dans cette sous-région comme ailleurs dans le monde.

L' éloignement de ce danger incombe en priorité aux peuples et aux dirigeants de la région des Grands Lacs; la survie de leurs nations, de leur culture, de leurs ressources naturelles et humaines dépendre de leur détermination à vaincre les colporteurs de la mort, les forces de déstabilisation et de l'exclusion.

Car ce sont ces maux qui ont fauché la vie de plus d'un million de personnes en quelques mois, et qui ont jeté près de 3 millions de rescapés sur la route de l'exil extérieur et intérieur où les conditions de vie, ne font que perpétuer le génocide, la mort et les atrocités de toutes sortes.


Mesdames, Messieurs,

Votre participation aux assises de cette Conférence nous amène à croire que le monde entier est désormais sensibilisé sur la triste réalité du problème des réfugiés, des rapatriés et des personnes déplacées vivant essentiellement au BURUNDI, au Rwanda, au Zaïre et an Tanzanie. Nous espérons que vous rentrez avec déjà un plan fixe de la meilleure conception et de la meilleure coordination de l'assistance, en vue d'aboutir à de meilleures performances résultant d'un effort concerté, entre toutes les parties prenantes au problème.

Votre séjour dans la région vous aura permis aussi de vous rendre compte que l'état de développement de nos pays est tel que les moyens financiers et logistiques font cruellement défaut, face aux besoins essentiels rendus nécessaires par des sinistres de si grande envergure.

Par contre, nos Etats ont le premier rôle et le devoir de favoriser la création d'un environnement politique, moral et psychologique propice au rétablissement progressif de l'espoir et de la vie. C'est important. Et c'est à ce niveau qu'il devient difficile de dissocier l'humanitaire du politique.

En effet le soutien moral qui rassure les sinistrés et ceux qui veillent quotidiennement sur eux passe par des messages politiques de paix consistants, permanents et sans équivoque. La classe politique est invitée ici à se ressaisir, elle qui après avoir été à la base des multiples tragédies, continue à saper les efforts de redressement et de réconciliation après le séisme.

La première action d'urgence à laquelle les pouvoirs politiques doivent s'atteler est d'assurer la sécurité des réfugiés, rapatriés et personnes déplacées, aussi bien dans les pays d'accueil que dans les pays d'origine. Ce faisant, les intervenants garderont à l'esprit qu'ils ont affaire à des gens psychologiquement fragiles, que tout propos, ou insinuation maladroite peut sérieusement les affecter et même provoquer des réactions violentes de désespoir, même si les conditions matérielles et de sécurité peuvent être au demeurant supportables. Dans nos pays où la vie traditionnelle fortement sédentaire se construit autour d'une propriété foncière à laquelle le paysan s'attache sentimentalement, une personne arrachée brutalement à ce milieu ombilical est un homme déraciné, déprimé, diminué, un homme qui agonise. Il est Impossible de lui trouver un substitut à son "rugo", cet enclos traditionnel où se coule l'intimité familiale et qui constitue un des éléments principaux de la considération sociale.

D'autre part, la sécurité dans les camps et centres d'accueil, la sécurité des personnes trouvées sur place, la sécurité sur la frontière commune, la sécurité sur la territoire national, la sécurité dans la toute sous-région doivent être le souci permanent de nos gouvernements si nous voulons entreprendre, avec quelque chance de succès, l'opération de retour volontaire de ces personnes dans leurs villages ou sur leurs collines d'origine. Les pays d'accueil veilleront décourager toute tentative des réfugiés à déstabiliser leur pays natal; pour cela des instruments juridiques et diplomatiques de référence existent au niveau bilatéral, sous-régional et international.

Vous avez eu à échanger sur des problèmes particuliers liés à l'existence dans notre sous-région, de réfugiés d'un genre nouveau à savoir: des militaires en armes et des miliciens en uniformes militaires, des hommes politiques et administratifs qui n'ont pas quitté leurs administrés et qui exercent des menaces et intimidations à l'encontre des réfugiés bonne foi surtout ceux qui veulent se rapatrier. Vous aurez constaté la difficulté qu'éprouve la communauté internationale de s'impliquer dans des actions de sécurité dans les camps, aux côtés du pays d'accueil soumis à une situation d'impuissance embarrassante.

Oui. Le retour volontaire: c'est l'objectif ultime qu'il faut atteindre. Il est la seule solution qui vaille, qui coupe court avec l'oisiveté d'un éternel assisté. Il est également une des conditions majeures de réussir là processus de réconciliation nationale engagé dans nos pays en vue de reconstituer le tissu social profondément déchiré.

Mais pour faire rentrer massivement les concitoyens exilés à l'extérieur ou disséminés dans des centres intérieurs d'accueil, il faut éliminer d'abord les causes profondes qui ont été à la base de leur déplacement forcé. Sans anticiper sur la Conférence qui suivre celle-ci et qui sera centrée sur l'analyse politique des causes de l'instabilité chronique des pays des Grands Lacs, nous pouvons dire que la lutte contre les idéologies divisionnistes et d'exclusion, la lutte contre l'impunité, le règlement de la question des terres et autres biens laissés derrières sont des mesures déterminantes pour encourager le mouvement de retour. Vous y avez touché un mot dans vos discussions.




Le problème des mouvements forcés de la Population dans notre sous-région est tellement aigu qu'il vous a mobilisé tous. Nous nous réjouissons que la conférence ait adopté un Plan d'action réaliste sur lequel les partenaires se baseront pour concrétiser l'assistance nécessaire. Nous croyons que le rôle de la communauté internationale ne doit pas se limiter à l'aide alimentaire d'urgence où la satisfaction des besoins fondamentaux comme la santé et l'hygiène, mais qu'elle s'étend aussi au soutien au processus de démocratisation en cours dans nos pays, à la reconstruction et à la relance économique, au respect des droits de l'homme, à la culture des valeurs de paix et de tolérance.

Pour cela, il faut une conception de nouvelles initiatives dans le cadre d'un effort concerté faisant intervenir toutes les parties prenantes au problème, afin d'utiliser au mieux les ressources disponibles, d'accroître l'efficacité des programmes, d'éviter les chevauchements et autres dysfonctionnements.

La grande question que tout le monde se pose maintenant est celle de savoir pendant combien de temps les réfugiés, les rapatriés et les déplacés vivront dans cette malheureuse situation. N'y a-t-il pas lieu de craindre plutôt un nouveau flux de réfugiés et de déplacés




Nous sommes convaincus que beaucoup parmi vous se posent cette question après ce qu'ils ont entendu et vu durant le séjour à BUJUMBURA? Beaucoup d'entre vous sont habités à juste titre par un certain pessimisme au regard de la crise gouvernementale et du problème d'insécurité dont vous êtes témoins désormais.

Nous partageons votre préoccupation, mais nous contenons encore notre pessimisme.

Car en effet, le BURUNDI est à la croisée des chemins. La transition du système de monopartisme où les pouvoirs étaient concentrés entre les mains d'un homme, en l'occurrence un militaire entouré éventuellement de proches courtisans, vers un système de multipartisme encore mai assimilé par les Burundais, est émaillé de situation douloureuses où les politiciens font une confusion totale, souvent délibérée, entre l'exercice du droit démocratique et le respect de l'intérêt national.

La diversité ethnique et la pluralité des idées qui devraient être une richesse ont été exploitées par des politiciens rompus à l'intrigue et à la division, pour accroître la méfiance et la haine entre les composantes de la nation. Le résultat tragique. de ces enseignements nocifs fut l'éclatement de la crise d'octobre 1993, qui a porté un coup très grave à la cohésion nationale que les différentes crises antérieures avaient déjà fortement ébranlée.

Aujourd'hui, une poignée de politiciens, toutes tendances confondues, se refuse à tirer les leçons du drame rwandais qui s'est déroulé à nos portes, et veut conduire inexorablement notre pays vers une tragédie similaire. Pourtant la Convention de Gouvernement signée le 10 Septembre 1994 prévoit un mode de gestion consensuelle et collégiale à tous les niveaux de l'Etat, de façon que les gagnants des élections de juin 1993 partagent une partie de leur pouvoir avec les perdants. Mais que constatons-nous? Les mécanismes prévus par cette Convention sont foulés au pied par ceux-là mêmes qui les ont signés. Ces derniers se liguent aujourd'hui avec ceux qui ne se sont jamais inscrits dans cette démarche et en appellent, par des moyens violents, au renversement des institutions qui en sont issues.

Plus que jamais la moralité politique est un vain mot au BURUNDI. On lance des appels à la haine et à la vengeance ethnique, on fait l'apologie du crime et on croit avoir exercé la liberté d'expression. On cultive le mensonge, l'intrigue et la calomnie, et on se prend pour un habile politicien. On déclare la guerre contre son pays, de l'extérieur ou de l'intérieur, et on se fait passer pour un libérateur. On incite les gens l'arrêt de travail dans un pays où la production est en chute libre et l'économie arrêtée, et on dit que c'est pour l'intérêt de la population. On appréhende un criminel et on est taxé d'injuste. On prodigue des conseils de sage et on est pris pour un traître. On préfère ne pas dire la vérité pour soi-disant préserver sa neutralité ou sa sécurité. Quelle illusion! Toutes les valeurs positives sont entrain de céder le pas aux valeurs négatives. Et c'est notre jeunesse qui le paiera demain et très cher.

Non! Cela ne peut pas continuer. Les sages de ce pays, les véritables patriotes et ils sont nombreux, doivent se lever reprendre courage et dire non aux déstabilisateurs, d'où qu'ils viennent. En ce qui nous concerne nous restons fermement engagé et déterminé à oeuvrer aux côtés de tous ceux qui luttent pour la paix, la tolérance, la justice et le culte de la vérité au BURUNDI.

Excellences, mesdames, messieurs,

Comme nous l'avons souligné plus haut, les difficultés que connaissent notre pays sont graves, certes, mais pas insurmontables. Mais quelle contribution la communauté internationale peut-elle apporter ?

C'est d'abord celle de prendre le temps nécessaire et de comprendre la situation. Les représentants des Secrétaires Généreux de l'ONU et de l'OUA dont nous saluons la persévérance et la lucidité, les représentants des pays et organismes amis qui vivent au Burundi le savent mieux que quiconque. Nous voulons une contribution internationale qui s'appuie sur les instruments institutionnels nationaux, qui invite les partenaires à respecter leurs engagements vis-à-vis de ces instruments. Nous apprécions une contribution extérieure qui nous aide à mieux conduire la processus de réconciliation nationale, qui appuie les initiatives tendant à chercher un .système démocratique adapté aux réalités conjoncturelles et structurelles nationales. Nous souhaitons que le monde extérieur déploie des mécanismes acceptables et convenus de commun accord avec le Gouvernement, pour la prévention et le règlement pacifique des conflits éventuels. Un appui à la lutte contre l'impunité et le crime, la modernisation des services chargés d'assurer la sécurité et l'ordre, l'implication dans le travail d'éducation pour la paix, la tolérance et le respect des droits de l'homme; toutes ces contributions sont les bienvenues.

Nous souhaitons également que la communauté internationale mette la prudence nécessaire dans l'interprétation et l'appréhension de certains de nos problèmes, afin d'éviter de prendre des positions ou des mesures qui versent l'huile sur le feu ou qui frappent des citoyens innocents.

Enfin, nous attendons de nos amis extérieurs le renforcement de l'aide à la reconstruction et au développement. On ignore souvent que les crises politiques dans les pays en développement plongent souvent leurs racines dans la pauvreté, l'ignorance, la difficulté de partager un gâteau national de misère, l'incapacité des citoyens de s'épanouir et de progresser.

Nous en voudrons enfin de terminer notre allocution sans remercier sincèrement leurs Excellences Madame SADAKO OGATA et le Docteur Salem Ahmed Salim pour avoir coparrainé cette Conférence et avoir participé personnellement à ses assises. Nos remerciements vont également à vous tous, Distingués Chefs de délégations et délégués qui avez accepté de venir soutenir le BURUNDI et les pays de la région des Grands Lacs.

Nous sollicitons votre indulgence pour les défaillances de l'accueil, et regrattons sincèrement que vous ayiez eu à un certain moment, des craintes pour votre sécurité personnelle durent votre séjour. Notre pays est en crise: Vous vous en êtes rendu compte.

Merci pour votre compréhension et votre soutien

Que vive la Coopération Internationale, et bon retour dans vos pays respectifs.


-     Excellence Monsieur le Président de l'Assemblée Nationale,

-     Excellence Monsieur le Premier Ministre,

-     Excellence Monsieur le Secrétaire Général de l'Organisation de l'Unité Africaine .

-     Excellences Madame et Messieurs les Ministres,

-     Excellence Madame le Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés,

-     Excellences Mesdames, Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,

-     Distingués Chefs de délégations,

-     Honorables Représentants des Organisations Internationales,

-     Distingués Invités,

-     Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles, Messieurs,

La cruciale question des Réfugiés, des Rapatriés et des Personnes déplacées constitue sans nul doute le plus grand défi qui pèse sur notre sous-région.

Nombreux sont les observateurs et les analystes avisés qui estiment que s'il n'est pas affronté sérieusement et résolu rapidement il risque de transformer profondément le paysage politique, social, culturel et écologique de notre sous-région, mettant ainsi en danger la stabilité, l'avenir et la survie même de certains de nos Etats.

Rétrospectivement, Nous constatons que la question des Réfugiés a toujours été, depuis ces dernières décennies au centre des préoccupations et des débats des gouvernements et des peuples de notre sous-région ainsi que de leurs amis et partenaires tant bilatéraux que multilatéraux.

La présente conférence sur l'Assistance aux Réfugiés,, aux Rapatriés et aux personnes déplacées revêt donc une importance capitale.

Il nous est donc agréablement permis de constater que la présente Conférence Régionale est organisée sous les auspices de l'Organisation de l'Unité Africaine (l'OUA), du Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés (le HCR) et du Gouvernement de la République du Burundi.

Qu'elle se tienne actuellement à Bujumbura, cela constitue pour Nous un grand privilège et un motif d'une très grande satisfaction car Nous y voyons la réaffirmation d'un véritable geste d'attention, de sympathie, de soutien et de solidarité à l'égard du Gouvernement et du Peuple Burundais mais aussi de la sous-région tout entière.

Par ailleurs, Nous avons le sentiment que les centres d'intérêt qui vont être examinés et la présence d'un si grand nombre d'éminentes Personnalités venues des cinq Continents de la planète pour participer à cette Conférence vont rehausser le moral des millions de personnes auxquelles elle s'intéresse.

C'est à ce double titre qu'il Nous est particulièrement agréable de souhaiter très chaleureusement au nom du Gouvernement, de la Nation Burundaise et en Notre Nom propre la bienvenue ainsi qu'un séjour très agréable et fructueux au Burundi à tous Nos Illustres Hotes que, vous êtes.

Nous adressons un hommage mérité à tous les organisateurs et à tous les participants aux différents niveaux de la Conférence qui se sont investis pour que celle-ci soit un véritable succès.

Notre profonde gratitude va particulièrement à Son Excellence le Docteur Ahmed Salim Ahmed, Secrétaire Général de l'Organisation de l'Unité Africaine ainsi qu'à Son Excellence Madame Sadako Ogata, Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés qui n'ont rien ménagé pour que cette Conférence historique se tienne effectivement comme prévu.


Honorables Invités.,

Distingués Délégués,

Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles, Messieurs,

La problématique des réfugiés, des rapatriés et des personnes déplacées dans notre sous-région est une question qui vous est déjà très familière, tellement vous avez eu l'occasion de vous y pencher à maintes reprises. N'empêche que Nous nous sentions très honoré d'avoir l'opportunité d'y revenir encore une fois. Notre joie est d'autant plus grande que nous en parlons avec la préoccupation de déboucher sur quelque chose de concret, à savoir un Plan d'Action et un Programme d'Assistance qui couvrent le volet exclusivement humanitaire de la problématique, les autres dimensions tout aussi intéressantes,, importantes et préoccupantes à la fois étant réservées à un autre cadre beaucoup plus approprié, même si ce n'est peut-être pas opportun de le mentionner déjà ici, en l'occurrence, la Conférence Internationale sur la paix, la sécurité et le développement est envisagée dans le temps à venir.

Vous Nous permettrez de rappeler très brièvement les causes et l'impact du phénomène des réfugiés, des rapatriés et des personnes déplacées aussi bien sur les pays d'origine que sur ceux d'accueil, les actions déjà menées en vue du rapatriement des réfugiés et de la réinsertion des personnes déplacées dans le cadre tant national que sous-régional, les raisons d'échec constatés en matière du rapatriement volontaire des réfugiés ainsi que les remèdes durables et définitifs envisageables.

Car, contrairement à ce que cela pourrait paraître à priori, les malheurs dont souffrent Nos pays et Nos peuples sont loin d'être dus à des malédictions ou à des catastrophes naturelles.

Au nombre des causes manifestes et évidentes de ces malheurs, il y a notamment la course effrénée, parfois même éhontée, au pouvoir, et ses deux corollaires que sont la définition érronnée et la mauvaise gestion de l'Etat qui, depuis l'accession de Nos pays à l'indépendance ont caractérisé et continuent de distinguer la classe politique, comme c'est bien le cas du Burundi pour ne parler que de ce seul pays.

Ce phénomène a entraîné une cohorte de comportements pervers fort déplorables dont essentiellement des cas d'alliances ethniques, régionales, claniques et autres débouchant dans certains pays sur des idéologies d'intolérance, de globalisation, d'exclusion et d'extermination physique.

La catastrophe qui s'est abattue sur le Burundi dès le 21 octobre 1993 avec toute une autre série de malheurs consécutifs qui endeuillent le pays jusqu'à nos jours, résulte d'un clivage qui s'est créé entre ceux qui voyaient un début de salut dans la gestion démocratique de l'Etat et ceux qui le l'ont considéré comme la source de leur éloignement dans la gestion du pouvoir.

En analysant la situation de près, Nous nous rendons compte que le cerveau de tous ces forfaits que connaît le BURUNDI depuis 1993 et dont les origines se situent autrement loin dans le temps, se trouve au sein de la classe politique, les autres présumés coupables n'étant que de pauvres exécutants, tout aussi condamnables certes, qui ne savent parfois même pas réellement pour quelle cause ni pour quel maître ils accomplissent leur sale besogne.

Un phénomène nouveau et qui remonte au mois d'octobre 1993 est que, outre les centaines de milliers de réfugiés classiques, d'autres centaines de milliers sont devenus, depuis le 21 octobre 1993, des réfugiés dans leur propre pays. Cette catégorie de réfugiés constitue ce que Nous appelons pudiquement les personnes déplacées et les dispersés, les deux principales ethnies étant concernées au même degré. Le chiffre effrayant de ces nécessiteux s'élève à plus de 400.000 personnes , tandis que celui des réfugiés burundais avoisine quelque 350 000 âmes.

Dans la sous-région, des crises similaires à celles du BURUNDI ont provoqué l'exode des populations vers les pays limitrophes. Et le cas qui pèse lourd en matière des réfugiés reste celui du RWANDA qui, dès le 6 avril 1994, a vu plus de 2.000.000 de ses fils et filles aller trouver refuge au BURUNDI, en TANZANIE, en OUGANDA et au ZAIRE.

Si tel est un aspect historique sommaire de la problématique des réfugiés et des personnes déplacées et dispersées au BURUNDI et dans la sous-région, loin de Nous l'idée de chercher à justifier l'ouverture d'un d ébat politique sur cette question. Notre préoccupation est plutôt d'identifier clairement les origines de nos différentes péripéties en vue d'aborder l'aspect strictement humanitaire en évitant de faire d'éventuels amalgames entre les causes et les effets.

Pour le pays d'origine, le phénomène des réfugiés le vide de ses potentialités en main-d'oeuvre et en ressources humaines,, avec des implications néfastes quant au développement socio-économique.

Le phénomène presque nouveau des personnes déplacées et dispersées à l'intérieur de leur propre pays et qui sont souvent accueillies et installées dans des infrastructures de développement économique et social, qui souvent ne s'y prêtent pas, contribue à la prolifération des maladies diverses avec également des implications dangereuses sur la santé de la population, et plus particulièrement celle des personnes les plus vulnérables, telles que les enfants, les femmes enceintes et les vieillards. Ce qui ne fait que compromettre l'objectif de la santé pour tous d'ici l'an 2000.

Pour le pays d'accueil, les réfugiés constituent une charge énorme. En effet, la présence massive et imprévue des réfugiés oblige le pays d'asile à faire face à un poids de plus par rapport à celui qui pèse sur nos systèmes déjà précaires sinon inexistants de production et d'approvisionnement en denrées alimentaires, de fourniture en soins de santé et d'eau potable à grande échelle, de construction de nouveaux logements sociaux décents, d'éducation des jeunes et de protection de l'environnement.

En ce qui concerne les organismes internationaux, l'aide humanitaire accordée grève le budget habituellement alloué aux programmes d'aide au développement pour les pays de la sous-région.

C'est pour toutes ces raisons non exhaustives, Nous en sommes sûr, que la plupart des Gouvernements concernés ont toujours prôné le retour volontaire, massif et rapide des réfugiés dans leurs pays d'origine ainsi que la réinsertion des personnes déplacées dans leurs villages ou sur leurs collines natales.


Honorables Invités,

Distingués Délégués.

Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles, Messieurs,

A tous les points de vue ou presque, à court et 'à long termes, les perspectives d'avenir de notre sous-région sont très sombres. La problématique des réfugiés, des rapatriés et des personnes déplacées recommande un véritable examen de conscience et appelle de nouvelles options d'éducation.

Le système éducatif qui fonctionne à l'image de Nos sociétés souvent gangrenées et minées par des divisions ethnico-politiques trompe et désoriente les jeunes.

Souvent abandonnés à eux-mêmes par des parents irresponsables ou dépassés par les événements, mal encadrés dans les milieux scolaires, désinformés et manipules autant par une certaine presse partisane que par certains politiciens, certains de nos jeunes se fourvoient et deviennent incapables d'apprécier correctement la société dans laquelle ils vivent pour tirer les leçons qui s'imposent.

Dans le pire des cas, ce sont ces jeunes désabusés qui, plutôt abusés, qui du fait de la consommation des stupéfiants, autre calamité qui doit être combattue énergiquement pour la survie de nos sociétés, et sous l'impulsion de leurs pauvres commanditaires, s'illustrent dans les sales besognes d'intimidation, de terrorisme, de massacres, de pillages et de destruction.

A titre d'exemple, personne n'ignore d'un côté l'énorme part de responsabilité des milices armées dans l'holocauste qui s est abattu sur le Rwanda l'année passée et de l'autre, mais à un moindre niveau sans doute, celle de certains jeunes burundais dans la destruction du pays et dans l'exécution des tristes opérations dites villes-mortes ou dans les guerres fratricides menées entre les deux groupes ethniques. Vous êtes aujourd'hui des témoins privilégiés du paysage politique et socio-économique actuel de Notre Capitale Bujumbura.

Sans disserter sur la situation, ce qui saute aux yeux, c'est que ce phénomène inédit dans l'histoire de nos pays et de notre sous-région est imputable à des causes beaucoup plus profondes qu'on ne l'imagine souvent.

Etant donné aujourd'hui, n'eût été les actes d'extermination physique d'une partie de la population observés ici et là, étant donné donc la pression démographique toujours croissante et les nouvelles revendications des citoyens compte tenu de l'évolution de nos sociétés mais aussi de l'environnement international, nos pays ne parviennent plus a répondre de façon satisfaisante aux nombreuses demandes, très variées du reste, des jeunes qui ont besoin de pain, d'abris et d'emplois et revendiquent, certes souvent maladroitement et sous l'impulsion d'esprits malveillants, leur droit inaliénable à l'épanouissement sous toutes ses formes.

Le constat est que nos villes et centres urbains y compris certains milieux ruraux, grouillent de plus en plus de jeunes vagabonds désoeuvrés à la merci de toute tentation et de toute forme de sollicitation qui sont à l'origine de certaines explosions de violence auxquelles Nous assistons ces dernières années.


Honorables Invités,

Distingués Délégués,




La solution des situations qui causent à Nos pays et Peuples les misères et les besoins énormes que nous connaissons aujourd'hui dans notre sous-région dans le domaine humanitaire ne s'opèrera pas dans le vide.

L'acceptation par la classe politique de l'alternance démocratique et de la transparence dans la gestion de l'Etat, le rôle inestimable de la femme dans tous les secteurs de la vie nationale, la lutte contre le chômage des jeunes à grande

échelle grâce à la création des activités d'encadrement productives et rémunératrices, mais aussi grâce principalement à l'émergence d'une classe moyenne génératrice d'emplois et au développement d'une économie de marché permettront sans doute à nos pays et à nos populations de récupérer progressivement le contrôle de leurs propres destinées qui, actuellement, semblent leur échapper de plus en plus.

Cette perspective présente l'avantage de mettre à l'honneur le sens d'initiative, de responsabilité participative et de compétition légitime et sincère.

En tant que telle, elle constitue à Notre avis le passage obligé pour fournir aux citoyens des moyens de gagner honnêtement leur vie, sous peine que nos pays courent le danger de voir se désagréger ou se rebeller les membres qui sien croiraient exclus purement et simplement.

Dans la logique d'éviter que les pays de la sous-région ne soient rivés au réseau permanent de la création et de l'accueil des Réfugiés, il est plus que temps que nos peuples respectifs favorisent le renouveau de bonnes moeurs traditionnelles telles que le respect strict de la vie de la personne humaine et de ses biens, le sens élevé' de la vie communautaire dans les villages ou sur les collines, l'assistance aux personnes en difficulté ou en danger de mort, mais aussi et surtout le concert de l'autorité et de la Nation, la reconnaissance et le respect du plein exercice des droits, des devoirs et des libertés fondamentales universellement reconnus aux personnes et à leurs familles.

Il s'agit aussi de mettre en avant le sens du partage, de 1 équité, de la justice sociale, celui de la culture du dialogue et de la concertation fondées sur le culte de la vérité, de la parole donnée et de la transparence, celui du débat contradictoire sur les questions de fond concernant la gestion et la conduite de l'Etat, sans oublier la complémentarité culturelle dans la diversité ethnique, clanique, régionale ou autres.

Etant établi que les sociétés humaines font leur propre histoire, les pays et les peuples de notre sous-région ont donc le devoir humanitaire de mettre en avant tout ce qui contribue à réhabiliter toutes ces valeurs positives qui, si l'on n'y prend garde sérieusement, risquent de s'éroder, d'éclater et de s'évaporer pour toujours sous nos yeux.

Dans cette problématique du renouveau positif, la dimension humanitaire reste fondamentale. C'est elle qui doit préluder à la sauvegarde, à la promotion et au renforcement de toutes ces valeurs en favorisant autant que possible leur bonne symbiose avec d'autres valeurs tout aussi positives venues d'ailleurs. Car en effet, au lieu d'évoluer en vase clos, nos bonnes moeurs gagnent toujours lorsqu'elles s'ouvrent pour se compléter et s'enrichir par de nouveaux concepts et de nouvelles visions de l'homme et du monde, n'ayant d'autres objectifs que l'intérêt général et le meilleur épanouissement possible de l'être humain.

Et dans le cas précis, il Nous paraît particulièrement important de veiller, toujours pour des raisons humanitaires, a ce que le rapatriement volontaire des Réfugiés et la réinsertion des Rapatriés et des Personnes déplacées se fassent dans les conditions aussi maximales que possible de confiance, de sécurité et de dignité pour les personnes et leurs biens.

A ce titre, Nous ne saurions souligner assez l'impérative nécessité de lutter et de mettre fin au triste phénomène d'intoxication et de désinformation devenu une pratique courante pour certains médias mais aussi et surtout, l'impunité caractérisée qui constitue une honte pour certains de nos pays de la sous-région mais aussi un affront et une injustice à l'égard des centaines de milliers d'hommes, victimes des actes barbares d'extermination physique, d'assassinats crapuleux, d'exécutions extrajudiciaires et d'autres formes de criminalités.


Honorables Invités,

Distingués Délégués,




Face à cette cruciale problématique des Réfugiés, des Rapatriés et des Personnes déplacées qu'ils ne peuvent pas affronter seuls, les pays de notre sous-région ont encore la chance de disposer de l'assistance d'un très grand nombre de partenaires tant bilatéraux que multilatéraux.

La disponibilité d'une telle assistance demeure encore indispensable pour des années certainement.

Pour l'essentiel, il s'agit à court terme de pallier au désespoir et au risque d'effondrement moral des populations souvent divisées et désabusées, terrorisées et traumatisées, affamées et laissées pour compte dans des sociétés où l'arrogance, la paresse, l'égoïsme et la désinformation, l'indifférence, le mensonge, l'intégrisme ethnico-politique, la prolifération des armes, les tueries, l'impunité ainsi que le refus, parfois même le rejet de l'alternance démocratique dans la gestion de l'Etat, sont en passe de devenir, si l'on n'y prend garde, des règles de jeu dans certains de nos pays.

Nous ne doutons point que la présente Conférence tiendra compte de cette réalité lorsqu'il s'agira de tirer des conclusions.

Etant donné le caractère urgent et complexe de la problématique qui va être débattue, Nous estimons que les aspects à la fois curatifs et préventifs des mécanismes de solutions envisageables et préconisées devraient guider l'établissement de l'échelle des priorités.

Nous voudrions insister encore une fois sur le caractère régional de la présente Conférence et la contribution des différents acteurs., étant donné que les problèmes qui nous occupent comportent des aspects qui dépassent largement les frontières nationales.

C'est pourquoi Nous souhaitons et espérons vivement que le Plan d'Action et le Programme d'Assistance qui seront adoptés à l'issue de la présente Conférence préciseront clairement ce que nos pays et nos peuples de la sous-région avec l'appui de la Communauté Internationale, doivent faire et comment, sur le plan humanitaire, pour surmonter les dures épreuves qu'ils connaissent actuellement en la matière mais aussi et surtout pour mieux se préparer et mieux répondre honorablement et avec dignité' au rendez-vous du siècle prochain.

C'est sur ce voeu que Nous déclarons ouverts les travaux de la Conférence Régionale sur l'Assistance aux Réfugiés, aux Rapatriés et aux Personnes déplacées dans la région des Grands Lacs.

-     Que vive la compréhension et la confiance mutuelle entre les peuples.

-     Que vive la coopération et la solidarité internationales.

-     Je vous remercie.

1995/BUJCONF.1: NOTE ON REFUGEE SITUATION IN THE SUB-REGION (submitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)


1.   The Great Lakes region of Central Africa has been the scene of refugee movements for several years. Dramatic events in Burundi and Rwanda in October 1993 and April 1994 caused massive population displacements, widespread violence and the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people. Some 670,000 Burundese sought refuge in Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, while aproximately 2 million Rwandese fled mostly to Tanzania (April 1994) and Zaire (July 1994), but also to Burundi and Uganda.

2.   These developments have disrupted life to such an extent and caused such instability among the population that the countries of the region, donors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies have been supporting an extremely large refugee caseload in asylum countries, while at the same time assisting spontaneous returns and providing relief to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in both Burundi and Rwanda.

3.   While the care and maintenance of refugees in asylum countries will continue in 1995, UNHCR hopes to be able to concentrate resources toward voluntary repatriation programmes and support for the reintegration of repatriated refugees and IDPs in both Rwanda and Burundi. In order to achieve this, two key issues must be addressed: security in the refugee camps in neighbouring countries; and progress in the process of confidence-building, reconstruction and national reconciliation in both Rwanda and Burundi.

4.   This paper will attempt to draw a comprehensive picture of the situation of refugees, returnees, and displaced persons in the Great Lakes region. The issues of security at refugee camps, repatriation prospects and the internally displaced will be analysed in detail in separate documents.

II.        BURUNDI

5.   The population of Burundi, like that of Rwanda[1], is composed of three main ethnic groups: Tutsi, Hutu (the largest group) and Twa (a very small percentage). The population density is very high (in Africa, second only to Rwanda) and scarcity of land, as in Rwanda, is a serious problem. Burundi, formerly part of the Belgian Trust Territory of Ruanda-Urundi, became independent in 1962.

6.   The 1965 insurrection in the Muramvya Province--when an estimated 500 Tutsis and 2,000 Hutus were killed--marks, for some observers, the beginning of a violent political pattern in Burundi. During what became known as the 1972 massacres or ikiza (the catastrophy), at least 100,000 people and possibly up to 300,000 were killed, while some 50,000 fled to Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire. In August 1988, inter-ethnic violence resulted in the death of thousands of people and prompted yet another wave of refugees--60,000 fled to Rwanda. In October 1993, the events that followed a failed coup attempt triggered another massacre and more Burundese fled the country.

7.   In June 1962, on the eve of independence, the Government of Burundi officially requested UNHCR's assistance, following the small UNHCR mission sent to Burundi to assess the general situation of Rwandese refugees in the country.[2] Refugees continued to seek asylum in Burundi and in 1964 the Burundi authorities requested UNHCR's assistance with refugee resettlement the removal of some 3,000 refugees from the border area. By 1965, some 46,000 Rwandese refugees were living in four settlements inside Burundi.

The situation today

8.   Most of the Burundese who left the country as a result of the civil unrest which followed the October 1993 failed coup attempt and the murder of President Melchior Ndadaye, repatriated in the first half of 1994. At the end of December 1994, the number of Burundi refugees stood at approximately 204,000: some 6,000 in Rwanda, 62,000 in the United Republic of Tanzania and 136,000 in Zaire. The events of October 1993 also resulted in massive internal displacement and it is estimated that some 300,000 IDPs fled to rural areas and regrouped in different sites where they felt more secure. By the end of 1994, the IDP population in sites had decreased to 278,000.

9.   Despite the efforts of the international community--among them, the deployment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) observers and appointment of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations--the situation in Burundi continued to be of grave concern throughout 1994, mainly in the Bujumbura area and in the northern provinces of Kirundo and Cibitoke. A serious incident occurred in the Kirundo Province in June 1994 when close to a hundred refugees were killed. Also in Kirundo, in August 1994, a UNHCR Field Officer was murdered. Security-related incidents have raised protection concerns, disrupted assistance programmes and caused new refugee influxes into Zaire and Tanzania. Despite the country's internal problems, the authorities cooperate with the humanitarian relief effort and UNHCR maintains a constant dialogue with the Government on measures necessary to protect refugees and humanitarian workers.

10. With the signing of the Convention of Government in September 1994 and the subsequent election of President Silvestre Ntibantunganya, a difficult process of national reconciliation began.

11. It is expected that during 1995 UNHCR will continue to provide assistance to approximately 100,000 IDPs and to 150,000 Rwandese, accomodated in eight refugee sites (there are 5,000 other refugees--mostly Rwandese but also nationals from other countries--who live in Bujumbura and who will also continue to receive UNHCR assistance). There are also plans to assist in the return and reintegration of 110,000 Burundi refugees as well as in the voluntary repatriation of some 75,000 Rwandese--25,000 from the "old caseload" and 50,000 who entered Burundi after June 1994.[3]

12. UNHCR assistance to Rwandese in Burundi includes distribution of World Food Programme (WFP) food, milk distribution to pregnant women and to children (some 50 percent of the caseload) and a supplementary/therapeutic feeding programme in all camps. Other basic needs such as water, sanitation, education, health and shelter are also covered. Distribution of domestic items will continue. Firewood will also be provided in order to reduce indiscriminate deforestation.

13. Voluntary repatriation of refugees (both Burundese returning to Burundi as well as Rwandese refugees going back to Rwanda) is dependent upon security conditions at refugee camps, particularly in Zaire and the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as on conditions in both countries of origin. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations noted in reports to the Security Council, the situation, although far from being identical, remains fragile in both Rwanda and Burundi.[4] (Repatriation principles as well as repatriation operational concepts are examined in the "UNHCR Note on Repatriation of Refugees")

14. Burundi returnees assisted in camps will continue to be provided with basic services such as food, water, health and sanitation, and educational facilities. Quick Impact Projects (QIPs)[5] will also continue to rehabilitate community infrastructure, including water systems, schools and hospitals. Seeds and agricultural tools, as well as shelter materials, will be distributed. French language courses will also be organized for young returnees coming back from the English-speaking United Republic of Tanzania.


15. Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa. The majority of its population is rural and scarcity of land has been a long-standing and serious problem.[6] Rwanda has the same ethnic composition as Burundi.

16. Before the end of colonial Belgian rule in 1962, a brief but violent war between Hutus and Tutsis broke out in Rwanda at the end of 1959. There were heavy casualties on both sides and several thousand Tutsis, with a few Hutu and Twa followers, sought refuge in Burundi, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania (then Tanganyika).

17. Serious ethnic conflict continued between 1960 and 1961 and some commentators suggest that at least 100,000 persons left Rwanda in the wake of a failed coup in January 1961. By the time of independence, some 150,000 Tutsis--or half of the Rwandese Tutsi population at the time--were in neighbouring countries, mostly in Uganda and the Kivu Province of Zaire, but also in the United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi.[7]

18. In 1972, Rwanda, a refugee-producing country, also became a country of asylum when, as a result of widespread political violence in Burundi, an estimated 50,000 Burundi refugees sought refuge in Rwanda. Ethnic violence, however, characterized by refugee flight and killings, became a cyclical aspect of Rwandese life. UNHCR, through its protection and assistance programmes, resettlement activities and attempted voluntary repatriation programmes, was an active and early actor in this tragedy.

19. Attempts to find lasting solutions to the problems of Rwandese refugees have been made at the regional level. Although voluntary repatriation was reatined as the best option, integration of refugees in their asylum country was also considered. Through the 1991 Dar-es-Salam Declaration, for example, the five countries neighbouring Rwanda "undertook, subject to their constitutional provisions and their respective national laws and regulations, to facilitate, as far as possible, the naturalization of these Rwandese who have expressed the wish to become nationals of their country of residence."

The 1994 crisis

20. The long history of political turmoil in Rwanda degenerated into civil war in 1990. However, after intense and lengthy negotiations, sponsored by countries of the region with the support of the international community, the Arusha Peace Agreement was finally signed in August 1993, formally ending the war and establishing the terms for a government of national reconciliation.[8] Sadly, radical forces undermined the implementation of the agreement, despite intense pressure from the international community.

21. The situation further deteriorated on 6 April 1994, when President Habyarimana was killed, when the plane he was travelling in was shot down. The ensuing violence marked the beginning of a brutal genocide, during which an estimated I million civilians were massacred. In July, in a sudden and extraordinarily large exodus, close to 2 million refugees fled the country, mainly into the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, where they settled in areas with a very fragile environment, close to border areas.

22. The fear of those who fled was "nurtured and indeed exacerbated by Radio and Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and by the former Government ( ... ) The RTLM reportedly called on the Hutu to leave Rwanda and take refuge outside the country, particularly in Zaire, for fear of being massacred by the new authorities. The appeal itself is said to have been accompanied by barely concealed reprisals against recalcitrants. ( ... ) It appears to have been seen much more as an order than as a mere recommendation, with those to whom the message was addressed not having a choice."[9]

23. In addition to widespread destruction, the civil war also brought economic life to a standstill[10] and produced a very large number of IDPs--estimates put this figure at over 1 million, mostly located in the south-west region.

24. UNHCR's activities in Rwanda during 1994 focused on individual assistance to returnees, as well as on community-based assistance (water, health, community services, primary education, crop production and animal husbandry) in those areas most affected by the arrival of returnees. In the context of the division of responsibility among United Nations agencies, UNHCR was also called upon to play a prominent role in assistance to IDPs in the south-west of the country, following the departure of "Operation Turquoise" French troops. While this was initially considered a preventive measure to avoid further outflows, IDPs continued to receive UNHCR's assistance, similar to that distributed to returning refugees, as part of the international effort to facilitate national reconciliation and to get the economy going again.

25. In addition to providing material assistance, UNHCR field officers, together with United Nations human rights personnel, have monitored--and continue to do so--the treatment of returning refugees and IDPs. In a country with a history of human rights violations, the presence of United Nations human rights monitors in Rwanda has enhanced confidence-building measures. In this context, it is to be noted that the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established an office in Kigali on 24 January 1995.[11]

Solutions to the crisis

26. Since the early stages of the crisis, UNHCR has considered voluntary repatriation of refugees to Rwanda the best solution to the refugee crisis provided that it takes place in conditions of safety and dignity. A 26 July 1994 policy statement emphasized:

"the early return of the refugees to their places of origin is the most viable response to their plight ... (and appealed) to all concerned, and in particular, the Rwandese authorities, to take concrete and convincing steps towards the creation of conditions conducive to the speedy and safe return of refugees. Specifically, these initiatives should include confidence-building measures intended to advance the process of national reconciliation."

27. On 18 January 1995, the High Commissioner, at the Round Table on Rwanda, held in Geneva between 18-19 January 1995, reaffirmed her commitment to the voluntary repatriation of refugees and the return of displaced persons to their communities of origin in safety and dignity. "Their prolonged stay in refugee camps in neighbouring countries is neither a viable option for the host communities, nor for the refugees themselves, nor for Rwanda."

28. UNHCR hopes to be able to focus its activities during 1995 on voluntary repatriation programmes and support for the reintegration of repatriated refugees and IDPs. Conditions permitting (that is, security at refugee camps in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, as well as progress towards national reconciliation in Rwanda), UNHCR plans to assist up to I million returnees and IDPs with return to their places of origin.

29. Two Voluntary Repatriation Tripartite Agreements have already been signed between Rwanda and UNHCR with Zaire and Burundi (a third Agreement, with the United Republic of Tanzania, is under preparation). Other UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will also play a major role in the repatriation exercise. (Further details on Repatriation principles and operations are analysed in the "UNHCR Note on Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees").

30. Voluntary repatriation to Rwanda is a complex and, in all likelihood, lengthy process, with many difficulties to be overcome. An unprecedented level of violence has characterized the situation of refugee camps in eastern Zaire and threats against those who wish to repatriate have varied from one day to another. It is hoped that with improved security in these camps more refugees will register for voluntary repatriation (A separate document reviews in detail security conditions in refugee camps).

31. Some 200,000 refugees returned spontaneously through official border points to Rwanda from camps in Goma between July 1994 and mid-January 1995. Many others have crossed through unofficial entry points. An estimated 260,000 IDPs remained in camps by mid-January 1995. There are indications that illegal property occupation, detention and other security incidents are deterring IDPs (and refugees) from voluntarily returning home.[12]

32. In an effort to improve the situation, the Government of Rwanda is adopting a series of confidence-building measures: full support and access to United Nations Human Rights Field Mission, UNHCR and other UN/UNAMIR staff; issuance of warnings to civilian and military population against taking justice into their own hands; and establishment of some structures to enable IDPs/returning refugees to reclaim property/land, as well as a revised procedure for arrest.


33. The United Republic of Tanzania has experienced two major refugee influxes since the end of 1993. A first wave--Burundese who left the country as a result of the violence which followed a failed coup on 21 October 1993--and a second, which followed the dramatic events of 6 April 1994, when the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed. By June 1994, some 460,000 Rwandese had sought refuge in the Ngara and Karagwe districts of the Kagera region of the United Republic of Tanzania. One of the refugee camps--Benaco,--was then the largest refugee camp in the world. The refugees in the Kagera region outnumber the local population by a ratio of 3 to 1.

34. Refugees continued to arrive in the Kagera camps during the second half of 1994; primarily Rwandese from refugee camps in Burundi, although some arrivals had come directly from Rwanda, despite the efforts of the Government of Rwanda to restore normalcy. At a rate of 2,000 persons per week during January 1995,[13] the continued influx prevented UNHCR from decongesting Benaco camp. Only a few thousand returned to Rwanda from the United Republic of Tanzania. The tendency so far has been for the "old caseload" to return, while the "new caseload" refugees seem to remain too afraid to repatriate.

35. By mid-January 1995, there were 600,000 Rwandese refugees in the Kagera region (10,000 unaccompanied minors in Ngara camps) and some 62,400 Burundi refugees in Kigoma. UNHCR plans a new registration of refugees for February 1995 in order to obtain more accurate figures and adjust assistance programmes accordingly. Due to the refugee camps proximity to the border, it is estimated that a number of refugees (known as "recyclers" or "double-dippers") have moved back-and-forth in order to obtain more than one food ration card.

36. In agreement with the local authorities and in cooperation with NGO implementing partners, two new refugee transit sites (Mbuba and Kitali Hills) are being developed further from the border and once they become operational, Benaco will be closed to all new arrivals. However, if the refugee influx continues at the present rate, the capacity of these new facilities will be exhausted within few months.

Conditions at the camps

37. Through the efforts of the Tanzanian authorities, coupled with a massive international relief effort, refugees have received sufficient assistance to cover their basic humanitarian needs, supplemented by activities in support of women and elementary school education for children.

38. In November, however, the water supply in Benaco camp became precarious when the artificial lake, supplying over 60 per cent of the water needs, dried up faster than predicted. To continue to ensure the supply of water, albeit far below the minimum requirements, alternative water supply systems have been implemented. Cholera and typhoid cases were reported, but despite the recent outbreak of these two serious diseases, the health situation of the refugees has improved. During the last quarter of 1994 mortality rates dropped dramatically; the crude mortality rate for Benaco camp, for example, stands at 0.69 deaths per 10,000 persons per week, and 1.2 per 10,000 per week for under-fives (the average rate in the continent is 1.0 and 2.0 respectively).

39. The environmental impact of the refugees continues to be a serious problem, causing social tension as the agricultural farming land and property of the local population have been destroyed. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has provided UNHCR with funds to implement an environment project in Ngara, and an Environment Working Group was established in the region to pursue solutions to the environmental consequences of the refugee concentrations in the region.

40. In response to the environmental problem, UNHCR, in addition to providing firewood collected from controlled cutting, is involved in supplying more efficient cooking stoves, alternative sources of cooking fuel and construction materials, as well as participating in the rehabilitation of water ways and depleted land. UNHCR also participates in soil erosion and air quality control projects. In order to reduce social tension, UNHCR is supporting overstretched local institutions.

41. Following the visit of the Tanzanian President to refugee camps in early November, a contingent of the Tanzanian police was strengthened in the camps. UNHCR provides support to the police contingent through the provision of food, vehicles, accommodation and communications equipment. The security situation in the Kagera camps has improved since the police contingent was reinforced. (Refugee camp security is examined in a separate document).

V.         UGANDA

42. As with other neighbouring countries, Uganda has traditionally been generous in their provision of asylum. The first influxes date back to 1959, three years before Ugandan independence. As early as 1962 there were more than 35,000 Rwandese refugees in Uganda. Between 1964 and 1967, some 20,000 new Rwandese refugees arrived and in 1972 there were 72,000 Rwandese refugees in the country. According to figures provided by the Government of Rwanda, 210,000 Rwandese have repatriated from Uganda since July 1994.

43. The Ugandan Government decided to transfer all Rwandese refugees to the Oruchinga settlement site, established in 1961 and which had recently become vacant following the spontaneous repatriation of mostly old caseload refugees. During the transfer process, the vast majority of the remaining Rwandese either returned to Rwanda, departed for camps in the United Republic of Tanzania, or integrated within the local population. Currently there are some 4,000 Rwandese refugees in Oruchinga and a few hundred in Nakivelli who are assisted by UNHCR. UNHCR does not expect them to repatriate in the immediate future, and therefore encourages community self-reliance.

VI.       ZAIRE

44. On 14 July people began crossing into Zaire. Three days later over 1 million refugees were in Goma. They arrived hungry, thirsty and exhausted. The rapidity and scale of the influx, as well as the complexity of the crisis, rendered traditional assistance procedures ineffective. While the numbers alone made the operation extraordinary, very complicated logistics and an inhospitable environment made it almost unmanageable. That realization prompted UNHCR to take an innovative approach and appeal to donors to provide "service packages".[14]

45. In an effort involving many donors and humanitarian agencies, an airlift, based on the Sarajevo experience, was rapidly organized and its coordinating cell established at UNHCR Headquarters. In a matter of days the airbridge was established and flight crews, ground personnel and air cell coordination teams were running a 24-hour relief operation. The airlift, initially only to Goma, was later expanded to Kigali and Bukavu.

46. The support of the Zairean authorities, who, among other initiatives, made land available for refugee sites, the "service package" approach and the subsequent donor response eventually brought a very dramatic situation under control--sadly many refugees died, though many more would have lost their lives if it were not for the very effective cooperation and coordinated efforts of NGOs, local Zairean support structures, donor government service personnel and United Nations humanitarian agencies.

47. An unprecedented level of violence has characterized the situation of refugee camps in eastern Zaire. At times of increased tension, murders, assaults and harassment of refugees took place almost daily. Even relief workers were physically threatened with machetes and axes.[15] The security situation deteriorated to such an extent that some NGOs pulled out from the camps. Poor camp security has a direct negative impact on repatriation and on assistance programmes. In an effort to improve the situation, on 27 January 1995 the Government of Zaire and UNHCR reached agreement on the deployment of Zairean security agents, who will be supported by an international Liaison Group of security experts. (Security at camps is examined in a separate document).

North Kivu

48. Although the majority of the refugees in North Kivu come from a rural background, the caseload also includes many civil servants of the previous regime, an estimated 30,000 former Rwandese military and their families (grouped in Mugunga camp). Seventeen per cent of the refugee population is comprised of children under the age of five, while the female-male ratio is 55:45. There are also some 20,000 unaccompanied minors in 20 special centres or scattered throughout the camps.[16] Initial results of a recently concluded registration exercise indicate that there may be up to some 726,000 refugees in North Kivu camps.

49. Refugees arrived in Goma very weak and were consequently vulnerable to epidemics such as cholera and dysentery. Medical assistance eventually became available in all camps and immunization campaigns were undertaken. Mortality rates among refugees declined from eight per 10,000 per day in August to 1.2 per 10,000 per day in December 1994. However, an on-going effort is required to keep diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, measles and other infectious diseases under control. Recent nutrition surveys showed good to very good global results for the Goma camps-refugee population: While the water and sanitation situation also improved, these two key sectors require constant attention.

50. Contingency plans have been drawn up by a task force composed of local authorities, scientists, NGOs and United Nations agencies to respond to a possible emergency should the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes erupt. Following a minor eruption in June 1994, UNHCR funded the establishment of five earthquake metering stations in the region. The eruption of one or more of the volcanoes has been predicted for the near future. The sites currently occupied by refugees are at risk and UNHCR has approached the Government of Zaire for the transfer of this population to more secure and sustainable sites.

51. A large proportion of the North Kivu refugee population is expected to repatriate during 1995, although care and maintenance programmes will be required for those who remain in the camps. The continuous improvement of the North Kivu refugee sites is necessary, but land availability is restricted by the boundaries of the Virunga National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Monument), by developed agricultural land on surrounding hills, and by limited water availability. Improvement in food distribution is crucial to better living conditions in the camps--trial distribution to family heads had very positive results and it is planned to undertake distribution through women within the household.

52. Development agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), are discussing and reviewing longer-term environment protection plans. Meanwhile, UNHCR, in order to reddress, at least partially, the negative environmental impact caused by the large refugee population, will purchase firewood for refugees, and distribute seeds, seedlings and tools to Zairean NGOs for the development of tree nurseries. UNHCR will also provide equipment and other assistance to forestry guards and wardens of the Virunga National Park.

53. The implementation of activities aimed at improving the situation in the camps will continue to take place under difficult conditions: despite very recent improvements, security in refugee camps remains a serious problem; the likely reduction in the number of international NGOs which may pull out for security reasons; the fragility of the monthly food pipeline of 12,000 metric tons--food trucks have to travel thousands of kilometres through several countries; water supply for some camps will need reinforcement; sanitation and removal of human waste will continue to require major investment.

South Kivu

54. The purchase of firewood and seeds, and registration of refugees, are important activities to be implemented in Bukavu and Uvira, South Kivu, during 1995. In Bukavu--a very heavily populated and cultivated region-identification of refugee sites has always been a problem. Current plans call for the transfer of refugees who do not repatriate voluntarily from small camps to larger ones, reducing the number of camps from 30 to 12. A similar exercise is planned for Uvira, reducing the number of camps from 25 to 10.[17]

55. While Bukavu hosts an estimated 348,000 Rwandese refugees (mostly women, children and elderly people-there are 10,000 unaccompanied minors registered) who fled the country after April's political turmoil, in Uvira the caseload is composed of both Rwandese and Burundi refugees. The former (approximately 43,000) have left Rwanda since April 1994. The Burundi refugees (some 135,000, of whom some 30,000 were first refugees in Rwanda) arrived in Uvira in waves in 1991, November 1993 and March and October 1994.

56. Recent indicators such as mortality, morbidity and malnutrition rates, reflect improved camp conditions in the region. However, congested living conditions of over half the camp population remain of concern.

57. During 1995, both in North and South Kivu, UNHCR will continue to operate through NGO implementing partners and in cooperation with other UN agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP), which will continue to resource all food commodities; the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), focusing on unaccompanied minors activities and primary education; and the World Health Organization (WHO), which is expected to continue fielding specialized consultancies on epidemiology, supplementing UNHCR's initiatives in this sector.


58. Donors have responded very generously to UNHCR's 1994 appeals and the financial needs of this emergency operation, totalling US$ 258 million, were met. In addition, the support of asylum countries, essential for the well-being of refugees, has been substantial.

59. On 26 January 1995, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) launched a "United Nations consolidated inter-agency appeal for persons affected by the crisis in Rwanda" which covers needs between January and December 1995 in Burundi, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire. The appeal totals some US$ 710 million. The UNHCR portion is nearly US$ 280 million to provide care and maintenance to refugees and to support the relief and reintegration of returnees and IDPs in Rwanda and Burundi.


60. The very large number of refugees in asylum countries is a significant destabilizing factor in the region. It also drains the natural resources and overwhelms the local infrastructure of host communities. The situation in both Rwanda and Burundi countries albeit different remains fragile. Although there has been a return movement of refugees and IDPs, only a peaceful reconciliation process in both countries, undertaken in conjunction with rehabilitation and reconstruction activities, will ensure a massive, voluntary and organized return of refugees and IDPs to their places of origin.

61. The relief effort in countries of asylum has succeeded in improving the health and nutritional status of refugees to levels, in some cases, even above the average in Africa. While this is to the credit of those involved, it also, once again, raises questions on the root causes of displacement, on the relationship between displacement and development and on the continuum of relief to reconstruction. Refugee movements and population displacement in general are but symptoms of move deeply-rooted problems. While it is crucial to provide timely and efficient humanitarian assistance, it is equally important to concentrate efforts on addressing the root causes which force people to flee.

62. As large scale repatriation does not yet seem possible, refugee assistance in camps must be maintained and improved, and local integration considered. In some cases, new refugee sites have to be identified and developed to enable camp decongestion and thus improve security and assistance. Due to the nature of the refugee flight, most camps are currently much too close to the border, representing a possible security threat to refugees and an additional tension factor in the region.

1995/BUJCONF.2: NOTE ON VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES (submitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)


1.   During the past few decades, the Great Lakes Region has witnessed several large scale flows of refugees and internally displaced persons due to socio-political upheaval and inter-ethnic violence in Burundi and Rwanda. The most recent eruptions of violence took place in October 1993 in Burundi, following the assassination of its President, and during the second quarter of 1994 in Rwanda when hundreds of thousands of civilians became victims of genocide. The current estimated figure for refugees from the Great Lakes Region stands at 2.5 million, whereas 1.3 million persons are estimated to be internally displaced in Burundi (almost 500,000) and in Rwanda (around 760,000). The overall figure for displacement is therefore almost 3.8 million.

2.   The subsequent waves of compelled displacement continue to cause immense human suffering, are a serious factor of instability in the entire region, and drain the resources of host States and communities. Durable solutions to the problem of refugees, displaced persons and returnees in the Great Lakes Region are vital for the building of peace, and for the long term stability and development of all affected countries in the region.

3.   As elsewhere, genuine and sustainable solutions to displacement require a multidimensional approach. There must be a political willingness on the part of all concerned to pay attention to the causes of recurrent displacement. Second, recognized standards of international law and practice call, inter alia, for respect for the human rights of those who are displaced, including their views as to their future. Third, taking into account these views as well as the legitimate interests of all directly affected States, the most appropriate solutions must be found. In the case of Burundi and Rwanda, while durable integration in asylum States should not be disregarded as an option for perhaps some of the refugees, there is widespread agreement that voluntary repatriation is the preferred solution. This Note proposes a comprehensive strategy for the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Burundi and Rwanda.


A.        Burundese refugees: 204,000

4.   Following the assassination of Burundi's first democratically elected President in October 1993 and the ensuing violence, close to 670,000 Burundese nationals sought asylum in Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire. Substantial spontaneous repatriation movements occurred in 1994, mainly from the United Republic Tanzania (first quarter) and Rwanda (April and May). During the same year, however, a series of security related incidents, mainly in the Bujumbura area and in the northern provinces of Kirundo and Cibitoke caused new refugee influxes, particularly into Zaire. At the end of December 1994, the number of Burundese refugees stood at approximately 204,000: 6,000 in Rwanda; 62,000 in the United Republic of Tanzania and 136,000 in Zaire (Uvira region). The refugee population in the United Republic of Tanzania still comprises a substantial group of refugees who fled during the violence of 1972, whereas in Rwanda and Zaire relatively minor groups of refugees who had fled during 1988, are estimated to remain.

B.        Rwandese refugees: 2.300.000

5.   In view of the high numbers involved, it is useful to distinguish between the two main groups of Rwandese refugees: those who fled during periods of violence between 1959 and 1993 (the "old" group), and those who left Rwanda during the second and third quarter of 1994 (the "new" group).

(i)   According to government estimates, and following the spontaneous return of 600,000 persons in 1994, there are still between 300,000 and 400,000 persons of the "old" group, including their offspring, mainly in Burundi, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, who should be regarded as refugees wishing to repatriate;

(ii)  As of January 1995, and taking into account more recent although much smaller refugee outflows, the "new" group numbered 2,000,000: 284,000 in Burundi; 600,600 in the United Republic of Tanzania; 4,000 in Uganda and 1, 117,000 in Zaire.


6.   The prolonged stay of millions of refugees living under difficult, albeit improved conditions in refugee camps, is neither a viable option for the host communities, nor for the refugees themselves, nor for a peaceful and prosperous future of Burundi and Rwanda respectively. Moreover, it is believed that the large majority of Burundese and Rwandese refugees would wish to repatriate as soon as possible, provided they are reassured about their safety and material survival during and after their return.

7.   In Burundi, the process of national reconciliation has started with the signing and implementation of the Convention of Government in September 1994 between the presidential majority and the opposition parties, and the subsequent election of a new Head of State. In Rwanda, where national reconciliation is also a main theme, the Government is concentrating its efforts on ensuring public security, restoring democratic institutions and the civil administration, and reconstructing the country's social and economic infrastructure, despite an enormous lack of qualified human and material resources. The authorities of both countries have repeatedly stressed the importance they attach to the return of refugees in safety and dignity, as an essential element in the process of national reconciliation. In witness thereof, and in addition to repeated public statements, Rwanda concluded a Tripartite Agreement on Voluntary Repatriation with UNHCR and Zaire (October 1994) and Burundi (December 1994) respectively.

8.   As to the security situation in camps accommodating the "new" Rwandese refugees, an improvement has been noted in the United Republic of Tanzania due to a more active involvement of Tanzanian police forces. There now also seems to be some stabilization in conditions in the camps in Zaire, although the risk of violent intimidation of refugees remains unacceptably high. Meanwhile, the spontaneous return of the "old" group is continuing, giving rise to difficult problems of land tenure and thus complicating the smooth re-integration of other refugees.

9.   In view of these developments, and bearing in mind the refugees' rights to return, it is timely for the international community to facilitate the repatriation of Burundese and Rwandese refugees, wishing to return at the present stage.

10. At the same time, UNHCR believes it is necessary to adopt a step by step approach. As noted by the United Nations Secretary-General in separate reports to the Security Council, the situation, although far from being identical, remains fragile in both countries. In Burundi political tension has, at times, remained high amidst armed incursions, the violent activities of militias and abuses of human rights, which continue to cause insecurity in parts of the country. In Rwanda, the sometimes arbitrary nature of arrests of suspected participants in the genocide, private acts of revenge, acts of robbery and armed incursions in some border areas are still a cause for concern.

11. Especially in the case of Rwanda (in view of the high number of refugees involved), a gradual, organized repatriation process should therefore be preferable to precipitous action, or to massive spontaneous return movements, as these could increase security risks, generate instability and thus endanger national reconciliation. Based on the experience in the first phases of repatriation, and on further developments in the refugee camps and in Burundi and Rwanda or parts thereof, it is hoped that repatriation activities can be intensified as soon as possible thereafter.

12. The successful implementation of this approach would require the commitment of all directly affected States to respect a number of basic principles, applicable to all stages of repatriation. It would also necessitate, and, in terms of timing, allow for the implementation by these States and by the international community of measures aimed at building confidence among refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees. These principles and measures are explained in the subsequent chapters of this Note.


13. In accordance with international law and practice, repatriation should be governed by the following principles:

(a)  the right to return; implying not only re-admission to the country of origin, but also encompassing the possibility to depart safely from the country of asylum;

(b)  non-discrimination; all refugees having an equal right to return, an even-handed approach should be adopted, by which conditions conducive to the return of all refugee groups are promoted by all Governments concerned, and by which, a fortiori, policies or practices favouring the return of one group to the detriment of the other, are avoided;

(c)  voluntariness based on informed consent; implying strict observance of the principle of non-refoulement, by the authorities of countries of asylum (not including refugees demonstrably falling under the exclusion clauses of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and/or of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, who, under conditions of due process, may be subjected to extradition procedures), and implying also efforts to provide the refugees with impartial information on general conditions in their home country;

(d)  return in conditions of safety and dignity;

-     implying foremost physical safety before, during and upon return in home areas, treatment in accordance with basic humanitarian standards, including the availability of basic means for material survival, and full access to UNHCR and international human rights monitors in the context of assurances given by the Governments of countries of origin;

-     while not implying immunity from prosecution for crimes falling within the purview of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda or of corresponding national legislation; however, the Governments concerned are responsible for ensuring fair treatment under minimum conditions of due process of any returnee suspected of having participated in genocide or of other serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law;

(e)  respect for private property; implying that the Governments concerned must ensure the re-instatement of returning refugees and internally displaced persons in their homes and land, while finding alternative solutions when this is legally or otherwise impossible;

(f)   freedom of abode; implying that returning refugees and internally displaced persons should be allowed to return to and to settle in a place of their choice, unless this would endanger national security or public order, or would infringe on the human rights of others.


A.        In countries of origin

1.         Promotion of dialogue

14. For a peaceful and early resolution of the problem of external and internal displacement, initiatives to foster dialogue with bona fide members of the refugee community, to promote the Rule of Law, and to transcend ethnicity in a spirit of reconciliation and nation-building, would seem to be vital. It is hoped that a future, broader conference on peace, security and development in the region, mentioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in his report of 25 January 1995 to the Security Council, will further the progress of national reconciliation, which should continue to benefit also from the good offices of the OAU and the United Nations in both countries. Governments should facilitate confidence building visits to Burundi and Rwanda by refugee representatives as well as visits to camps by the authorities of the respective countries of origin, and by representatives of groups having already repatriated.

2.         Public reassurances and Voluntary Repatriation Agreements

15. Solemn declarations by the Governments of Burundi and Rwanda, including by the high commands of their armed forces, inviting all refugees to return in safety and dignity would have an important confidence-building effect. Declarations by regional Heads of State, made at the Gbadolithe and Nairobi summits (in November 1994 and January 1995 respectively) are equally encouraging signals, for which they should be commended. Thirdly, it would be a positive step forward if:

-     the Government of Burundi and Zaire would conclude a Tripartite Agreement (such an Agreement already having been signed between Burundi and Tanzania in 1991), and if;

-     the Government of Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania were to do the same (in addition to the recent Agreements between Rwanda and Burundi and Zaire respectively).

3.         Terminating impunity

16. Furthermore, for the purpose of national reconciliation, to break the spiral of violence in the Great Lakes Region, and to ensure refugee repatriation in safety and dignity, there is widespread agreement that the impunity of those who instigated, prepared or committed genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law should be terminated. In the case of both Burundi (Presidential Statement of 25 August 1994) and Rwanda (various Resolutions) the international community, through the United Nations Security Council, has stressed that such persons must be brought to justice. Prosecution, under conditions of due process, would dispel questions concerning criminal responsibility, would reduce the risk of private revenge, and would hence reassure potential returnees. As noted by the Secretary-General in his report of 25 November 1994 to the Security Council, the early and effective functioning of the International Tribunal for Rwanda would be an important contribution. It is hoped that in Burundi official investigations into the events of October 1993, eventually followed by prosecution or other measures, can be pursued in full independence. The admission of international observers to national investigation and trial procedures should help to promote due process.

17. In Rwanda, full transparency about procedures for arrest of persons suspected of having participated in genocide, and the introduction of basic legal safeguards, would help to reduce uncertainty amongst many refugees and internally displaced persons. The following minimum measures, to be publicly disseminated, would constitute important progress: arrests in accordance with the law and not on mere individual denounciation, recorded testimony of at least two witnesses, control over continued detention by an authorized official after a fixed period, the regular publication of lists of detainees, and full access to detainees by relatives and international observers, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

4. Respect for property rights

18. To dispel the apprehension of many refugees and internally displaced persons about the possible loss of their immovable property, it is recommended that the Governments of Burundi and Rwanda publicly (re)emphasize that private property rights will be fully respected, and that any occupation of land and homes will be terminated after the return of the rightful owner. In addition, national legislation, underlining this principle, could regulate the strictly temporary and provisional nature of any house occupation on an emergency basis, to be authorized for a specified, limited period of time, and to be recorded by designated officials. Concrete measures will also need to be established to adjudicate property disputes in a fair and expeditious manner. The Government of Rwanda being committed to abide by the relevant principles of the Arusha Accord of 1993, the above will have to be accompanied by international support for the settlement of returnees who left Rwanda more than ten years ago, on unallocated land. It is recommended that the status of property rights of "old" returnees, be equally clarified in Burundi.

5.         Strengthening of the judicial system

19. In both countries, concrete measures need to be taken to ensure the independence of the magistracy and to strengthen the judicial system. Rwanda having announced specific measures to re-build and reorganize its judicial system-during the Round Table Conference organized by UNDP in January 1995, donor States and international organizations have shown their commitment to assist the Rwandese authorities with the implementation of these measures. Although the lack of qualified human resources is far less apparent in Burundi, this country too is requesting technical and financial assistance. It is therefore hoped that with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights a comprehensive plan of action can be presented to the International community in the near future.

6.         International human rights monitoring

20. The presence of the United Nations Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda is already helping to build confidence among local populations and returning refugees and internally displaced persons. It is of vital importance that this Operation be granted full and unimpeded access to all areas of the country, including all places of detention, to assist the local authorities with easing intercommunal tension and ensuring respect for human rights. The same applies to full access for UNHCR, which in close cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Field Operation, concentrates on monitoring the return in safety and dignity of refugees and displaced persons, in accordance with assurances given by the Rwandan Government. UNHCR is undertaking similar activities in Burundi, in close cooperation with the Burundese authorities. In addition, however, it is recommended that support is given, by Burundi and the international community, to a substantial enlargement of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bujumbura, to enable it to maintain a visible field presence, to build confidence and to expand its advisory services. According to its Presidential Statement of 25 August 1994, the Security Council attaches importance to the deployment in Burundi of civilian observers responsible for monitoring the establishment of a more secure environment. In this regard it is also recommended that the role of the OAU International Observer Mission be reinforced.

B.        In countries of asylum

21. In the countries of asylum, the following measures are recommended:

1.   With regard to refugees from Rwanda

(a)  In order to enable refugees to exercise their right to repatriate, the authorities should take appropriate measures with a view to improving security and putting an end to intimidation against refugees wishing to repatriate. The international community should lend the necessary support to such measures, at least on a temporary basis, in particular to the implementation of the Agreement concluded between Zaire and UNHCR on 27 January 1995 which is a positive step. (This subject will be dealt with in a separate Note).

(b)  UNHCR, in close cooperation with the local authorities will encourage refugees to re-structure their refugee committees and elect their representatives, including an appropriate number of women.

2.   With regard to refugees from Burundi and Rwanda

In accordance with article III of the OAU Refugee Convention and bearing in mind the strictly humanitarian nature of asylum, Governments should prevent "refugees residing in their respective territories from attacking any State Member of the OAU, by any activity likely to cause tension between Member States, and in particular by use of arms, through the press, or by radio". In this context, it is also useful to bear in mind the undertaking by States to settle "for reasons of security .... as far as possible, refugees at a reasonable distance from the frontier of their country of origin" (article II, 6).

C. The international community

22. A crucial role for the international community would be to encourage the establishment of the above-mentioned confidence building measures in both countries of origin and asylum, and to assist with their implementation. In addition to support for the restoration of the judicial system and international human rights monitoring, rapid and large scale rehabilitation, reconstruction and development assistance will be essential to a further return to normalcy in Rwanda and a solution to the refugee problem. At the Round Table Conference for Rwanda, organized in January 1995, the donor community has shown its willingness to invest in peace. It is recommended that assistance also be mobilized, in the near future, for the social and economic recovery of Burundi, as requested by the United Nations General Assembly, and following the reiteration by donor States, in Paris in September 1994, of their willingness to help Burundi to revive its economy. Finally, the international community's financial support to UNIHCR, other United Nations agencies and NGOs will be indispenable for the implementation of the Plan of Operations following hereafter.


A.        General

23. As indicated earlier, refugees wishing to return to Burundi and Rwanda already at the present stage, should be helped to do so as much as possible. UNHCR, as the mandated agency for refugee repatriation, intends to apply the following operational guidelines:

(i)   repatriation should take place in an orderly and gradual manner;

(ii)  simultaneously, efforts should be intensified to facilitate the voluntary return home of internally displaced persons, including returnees living in returnee camps;

(iii) priority should be given to the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to regions which are stable and in which there is an international presence; however, return assistance should not be excluded to persons wishing to return to and within other areas, unless grave and acute danger in such areas would render international assistance impossible or inappropriate;

(iv) to the maximum extent possible, return movements should proceed on a community basis, in order to reduce subsidiary feelings of insecurity and to facilitate protection monitoring and assistance activities in returnee areas;

(v)  the well being of returnees is the responsibility of the national authorities; however, returnee monitoring activities by UNHCR, in cooperation with other actors, such as international peace-keeping forces and human rights observers, where applicable, would help to promote fair treatment and should serve to keep conditions for subsequent stages of the repatriation process under review;

(vi) special attention should be given to vulnerable groups, including especially unaccompanied minors; efforts of tracing and family reunification need to be intensified;

(vii)      refugees and internally displaced persons should benefit from humanitarian re-integration assistance upon return, insofar as necessary; in order to avoid dependency, such assistance will be temporary, whereas it should be geared as much as possible to the communities of return.

B.        Planning figures for 1995

1.         Repatriation to Burundi: 110,000

24. Under the Sub-Regional part of the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Rwanda, launched in January 1995, the planning figure for assisted returnees to Burundi is 110,000. Special attention will be given to repatriation, mainly from the United Republic of Tanzania, of refugees who fled in 1972, as well as to the residual caseload of Burundi refugees in Rwanda. Of these, 400 urban refugees repatriated earlier this year with the assistance of UNHCR, and following the State visit of the President of Burundi to Kigali.

2.         Repatriation to Rwanda: 1 million

25. As to repatriation to Rwanda, UNHCR's planning figure under the above mentioned Appeal is up to I million, which includes possible spontaneous repatriation movements. From the Goma area in Zaire, 200,000 persons are expected to return during the first half of 1995. Due to many uncertainties, notably the degree of security for persons wishing to leave the refugee camps, these figures may prove to be too optimistic. On the other hand, if camps were to be moved further inland-because of the serious threat of volcanic activity in the Goma area, or, as to the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, in conformity with the OAU Refugee Convention (see para 21)-, the number of persons opting for repatriation might increase. The Rwandese Government estimates, that of the total of 1 million "old' refugees, the remaining 300,000 to 400,000 win repatriate in 1995, after 600,000 persons already returned during 1994.

C.        Assistance to returnees and communities of return

26. Inter-agency assistance measures to Burundese and Rwandese returnees have been elaborated in the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal. In cooperation with WFP, UNHCR has designed a simple repatriation package of food and non-food items, which will be given to each returning family, and it will continue to support transport of returnees by road, mainly through the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Staging areas and transit centres which are already in operation for returning refugees and internally displaced persons, will be expanded, with the active involvement of NGOs. In several home communes in Rwanda, Open Relief Centres are being planned, for the provision of short-term accommodation, while homes are being repaired, or in case of emergency situations. Whereas with the assistance of WFP supplementary food rations will be provided, all efforts should be geared towards a fast return to self-sufficiency, to which end seeds and agricultural tools will be distributed, both in Burundi and in Rwanda. UNHCR and its implementing partners will continue to contribute to the rehabilitation of community services, by concentrating, however, on Quick Impact Projects (installation of water systems, and short-term rehabilitation of schools and health centres).

27. In view of the speed of return of the "old" group to Rwanda, and the risk of continued house occupation, it is of prime importance that the Government initiates concrete measures to delineate and develop the various regions, which it has globally identified for the settlement of this group in its Programme for the Round Table Conference of January 1995 (page 28), while also taking into account the unfortunate reality of property vacated by the victims of genocide. International assistance, through bilateral or multilateral channels, must be forthcoming for the development of these sites, which the Government plans to complete over a period of two years. For its part, UNHCR plans to assist with the financing of longer term reception centres, and the provision of basic shelter construction materials, which forms of humanitarian assistance would not affect the property rights of others. Such assistance is equally planned for landless returnees in Burundi.

D. Measures to enhance returnee safety

1.         In Rwanda

28. From the refugee camps, the authorities of the countries of asylum should enable refugees to proceed to the Rwandese border in safety. UNHCR will continue to cooperate closely with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR), and will seek military escorts for all returnee convoys during the initial phase of repatriation, and on an ad hoc basis as the situation further stabilizes. Upon arrival of the returnees in Rwanda, UNAMIR, United Nations Human Rights personnel and UNHCR, working in close cooperation with the local authorities, should have full access to any security screening, or arrest procedure of suspected participants in the genocide, in reception centres or transit points. Several local authorities have already professed a welcoming attitude in such places. As said earlier, repatriation movements are to proceed on a community basis, to the maximum extent possible.

29. UNHCR estimates that the combined presence of a civilian administration, of international military contingents, of humanitarian personnel and of human rights monitors, offers the best available substitute to the formal creation, within Rwanda, of "security zones". Such zones might raise questions of national sovereignty and might induce returnees to stay and to continue to rely on humanitarian assistance, instead of returning home. Moreover, the Open Relief Centres in home communes, while essentially serving assistance and short term shelter purposes, are envisaged as an additional tool for protection, to which returnees and other civilians can turn to in case of inter-communal tension, or when they feel threatened otherwise. The Rwandese authorities have agreed to this concept, which is an important positive step.

2.         In Burundi

30. Similar measures should be established in Burundi. In the absence of an international peace-keeping presence, and as the potential group of returnees is much smaller than in Rwanda, the emphasis should be placed on the efforts of the local authorities, both civilian and military, the good offices of UNECR and the ICRC, and the presence of other humanitarian organizations to promote safety and fair treatment, and to build confidence. Organized repatriation movements to clearly unstable areas should be avoided.

E. Mass information campaign

31. Camps of Burundese and Rwandese refugees are fraught with rumours and inaccurate information which prevent refugees from making a fully informed choice about their own immediate future. UNHCR will assess the best ways of disseminating factual information about conditions in areas of origin, procedures for repatriation and existing international programmes of assistance and human rights monitoring. This information system will also be used to support programmes in the camps.


32. The Government of Rwanda, the OAU and UNHCR intend to conduct their cooperation within the framework of a Joint Commission to be created soon. A similar Commission is also recommended for Burundi. In both countries, UNHCR will cooperate closely with the Special Representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General. Moreover, in Burundi, close contact will be maintained with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the OAU.

33. Tripartite Commissions, to be established in accordance with existing and any future Tripartite Agreements on Voluntary Repatriation, should serve as an important channel for contacts between the respective countries of origin and of asylum, to elaborate the modalities and procedures of repatriation.

34. UNHCR will enlist the assistance of the various United Nations organisations and NGOs already operating in refugee camps, and in Rwanda and Burundi. In these countries, it will endeavour to develop linkages between returnee programmes and longer term rehabilitation and development assistance. In Rwanda, the Office of UNREO should facilitate this process. An Integrated Task Force along the model already in existence for the return of internally displaced persons, should be created under the joint chairmanship of the Government and UNHCR. UNHCR officers responsible for repatriation programmes in the countries of asylum will be invited to participate in meetings of this Task Force. A structure for operational coordination will also be established in Burundi, in close cooperation with the Burundese authorities. In refugee camps, UNHCR will endeavour to put in place voluntary repatriation task forces comprising local authorities, United Nations organizations and NGOs. Cross border operational coordination will be decentralized to the maximum extent possible.

35. It is recommended that progress in the implementation of the repatriation strategy outlined in this Note, be reviewed in six months time. To this end, the Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region may wish to consider establishing an appropriate framework.


36. The various components of the strategy outlined in this Note need to be seen as essential and mutually reinforcing activities, aimed at solving the problem of displacement in the Great Lakes Region, and at preventing new turmoil and violence. For all concerned the challenges will be enormous and many obstacles may undermine this strategy. Solutions will take time. The strategy on voluntary repatriation, outlined in this Note, will therefore require both determined support by the international community and the strong political will of all Governments in the region. The Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region provides an important opportunity to promote peace, stability and the re-integration of refugees and internally displaced persons.



1.   The three-month war in Rwanda, from April to July 1994 was an unprecedented human tragedy in Africa. It left an estimated I million persons massacred in Rwanda by a meticulously planned genocide campaign. Over 2 million persons fled Rwanda as refugees to the neighbouring countries of Burundi, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire. At least 1 million were displaced inside Rwanda. The attendant social and economic dislocations of the war have adversely affected almost the entire pre-war population of 7 million people in Rwanda.

2.   The influxes of refugees into neighbouring countries were sudden and massive. The refugees settled in the nearest habitable safe locations in the countries of asylum. In the United Republic of Tanzania, it was in Ngara and Karagwe districts of the Kagera region, less than 20 kilometres from the border. In Zaire, it was Goma and Bukavu, just across the border in Kivu Province. In Burundi, Rwandese refugees and former Burundi refugees in Rwanda arrived and settled in the northern border regions. The proximity of the camps to the borders could pose security concerns to the refugees, country of origin as well as to the countries of asylum. The OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa calls for location of refugee camps and settlements, whenever possible, at a reasonable distance from the frontier of the country of origin (widely interpreted to mean some 50 Kilometres).

3.   The overwhelming numbers of refugees have been compounded by their mixed profile. There are two groups of persons in the camps: (a) the refugees who fled from war, violence, genuine fear of persecution and revenge in Rwanda, (b) persons who fled with the refugees, but were responsible for planning or executing the genocide. Among the prominent figures in the latter category are former political leaders, former members of the Forces Armées Rwandaises, and former militia members. This combination has created unusual security problems for refugees and relief agencies in the refugee camps. It has obstructed humanitarian assistance and prevented the repatriation of refugees who have been intimidated and physically threatened.


4.   As the refugees settled in the sprawling camps, the camp population assembled itself into structures similar to those which had existed in Rwanda. The refugees and their leaders regrouped according to the social and administrative units to which they belonged at home. Social cohesion is also maintained through traditional clan and family ties. The ensuing commotion, and the ravages of war and disease have left thousands of unaccompanied minors and single parents among the various vulnerable groups in the camps. The refugees in the different camps come from almost all of the 147 communes of Rwanda. Most of the camps are organized into prefectures, communes, sectors and cellules.

5.   There were about 40,000 members of the former Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR) before the war. It is estimated that there are some 30,000 soldiers who survived the war and diseases after they fled to Zaire, including a whole battalion of the former Presidential Guard. Very few soldiers, if any, fled to the United Republic of Tanzania. In North Kivu, the ex-soldiers are mixed with the refugees; most of them in Mugunga and Kibumba camps. A small group of soldiers temporarily camped near Lac Vert, but have gone back to the main camps. In the beginning, the ex-soldiers were distinguishable by their uniforms, but most of the soldiers in the camps are in mufti. From the very beginning of the exodus, the soldiers who fled in the direction of Bukavu in South Kivu camped separately from the refugees. They occupy two previously unused barracks in Panzi-at a distance of 10 kilometres from Bukavu, for married soldiers; and Bulonge-70 kilometres from Bukavu, for single soldiers. It is estimated that there are up to 10,000 former soldiers in the two locations. The nearest refugee camp of Chimanga is 5 kilometres from Bulonge.

6.   The former militias are the most difficult to identify. They do not wear uniforms or insignias to distinguish them from the civilian population, but they know each other, and the refugees know them. They maintain a close network among themselves and exercise considerable influence and leverage on the camp leadership. The former militias are present in all the camps in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, but the majority seem to be in the camps of North Kivu. Before the war, each of the 147 communes in Rwanda had between 100 to 150 militias. Discounting attrition by war, arrests in Rwanda and mortality from epidemics in this group, the total number of militias in the various camps may be between 10,000 and 15,000 persons. Known for their activism and militancy, the ex-militia men are likely to be recruiting among the youths in the camps.

7.   Zairian authorities claim that all former Rwandese troops and militias were disarmed when they entered Zairian territory. However, the authorities do not rule out the possibility that, given the chaos that characterized the arrival of the troops, the disarming exercise may not have been effective. There have been several incidents involving firearms in the camps, but there are few ex-soldiers or former militia men who visibly carry arms in the camps and there are no heavy weapons in sight. The United Republic of Tanzania also claims to have collected all arms as the refugees entered (there are fewer incidents involving firearms in camps located there). Nonetheless, in both the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire, multi-purpose implements such as machetes have been used as weapons.

8.   The international community is represented by an array of international relief agencies under the coordination of the lead agency, UNHCR. By the end of 1994, in the Goma area alone, apart from the United Nations agencies, there were 45 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and about 1,600 international relief workers as UNHCR implementing partners. In South Kivu, there were 44 NGOs and in Ngara and Karagwe in the United Republic of Tanzania, there were 31 NGOs. The workers are in daily contact with the camp population and are exposed to the same dangers and risks posed by the precarious security situation.

A.        Impact on security, assistance and repatriation

9.   The presence in the crowded camps of groups of persons and individuals with a history of violence renders the social atmosphere tense and insecure. The most serious threat to camp security lies in the presence and activities of the former militias. The militias are the vigilantes of the camps who set and enforce the norms of camp life to suit the leaders' and their own dictates. They often act on the authority and on behalf of the camp leaders. The militias have emerged as the most powerful and troublesome groups in the camps. As the most militant youth wing supporters of the disposed regime in Rwanda, they are violently opposed to any dissenting or moderate views, particularly on repatriation, or to any groups in the camps perceived as diminishing or challenging their influence. On several incidents the militias have used firearms in the camps.

10. The presence of the former members of the Rwandese army is of a relatively lesser security concern. The Rwandese Government has reported that more than 2,000 former soldiers of all ranks have returned to Rwanda and have rejoined the National Army. At the same time, the international media have been reporting on the regrouping and training of the former army in locations outside the camps. The United Nations Advisory Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) has also reported several cross-border, armed incursions since October 1994 which may be the work of the ex-military, militias or bandits. Any military, paramilitary or bandit activities inside or outside the camps pose serious security and protection concerns to refugees and to the overall security of both the countries of origin and of asylum. The security threat is all the more serious in view of the close proximity of the refugee camps to the borders.

11. The presence and activities of paramilitary and military elements in the camps has made the enforcement of law and order by the countries of asylum more difficult. The problem is more serious in eastern Zaire where most of the army and militias fled to. Lawlessness has given rise to banditry, extortions and gang warfare in many camps. Policing such camps, some of which have populations of over 200,000 persons, is a daunting undertaking which the countries of asylum are not adequately equipped to deal with. The refugees are not only victims of criminal elements within the camps, but also of similar elements from local communities including some uncontrolled elements of the local security forces who have targeted refugees as well as relief workers. The widespread insecurity in the camps has adversely affected humanitarian work and has been an obstacle to repatriation as the following country experiences in the various camps show.


A.        Zaire

(i)         General Insecurity

12. Some of the most serious security incidents have been taking place in the big camps in the Goma area. In southern Kivu, the camps are more numerous and smaller in size but they also have their own security problems. Refugees have been harassed, tortured and subjected to various abuses for a variety of motives ranging from spurious allegations of spying, sympathy with RPF, and wishing or suggesting repatriation. Persons of mixed marriages have also been targeted. The incidents are gross violations of human rights. The former militias have been the main perpetrators of such incidents. Sometimes the militias incite mobs to kill fellow refugees.

(ii)        Humanitarian assistance

13. Apart from the general insecurity faced by refugees and relief workers, humanitarian assistance-particularly food distribution in the camps-was for some time adversely affected by the activities of military and para-military elements. Relief agencies experienced security problems caused by gangs who disrupted food distribution and looted warehouses. During the first four months of the emergency, distribution was done at prefecture and commune levels. The leaders had, in turn, to distribute the food to the thousands of persons in their respective administrative structures. The system had many drawbacks. Food did not reach all the intended beneficiaries; it was diverted by the leaders or seized by the strong (the ex-militias and former soldiers). Vulnerable groups such as women, children and the elderly suffered the most. It was estimated that in some camps up to one third of the food distributed was being diverted from bona fide beneficiaries.

14. The soldiers camped in separate barracks in South Kivu are not provided with any assistance. In the Goma area, the food distribution system has improved since November 1994. More distribution points have been prepared to allow wide distribution, although site availability remains a serious constraint. After much-publicized criticism of the abuses and flaws in the food distribution system, the camp leadership is now tacitly cooperating with relief agencies to improve the situation. By the end of 1994, it was possible to distribute food at sector and cellule levels in most camps. Food diversion and leakage has been reduced considerably. The objective is to distribute food at the family level, which should be possible now that the registration has been completed.

15. In South Kivu, there is a similar trend; a head count has already been done in Uvira and a more systematic registration will soon follow. It should also be noted that, from the beginning, transportation of relief assistance to and from the warehouses has, so far, not encountered serious problems. Nonetheless, tension among the refugees tends to build quickly if there is an interruption in the food pipeline. Some food is sold or bartered on the open market for missing food items if the food basket is not balanced.

(iii)       Repatriation

16. Intimidation and harassment of refugees wishing to repatriate is the main security concern in the camps. Shortly after the influxes of refugees into neighbouring countries, UNHCR, with assurances from Rwanda, was ready to facilitate and encourage repatriation. The first attempt to repatriate refugees from Goma, on 23 August 1994, was violently stopped by former militias and camp leaders. A systematic campaign of intimidation, harassment and even killing was unleashed in all camps to prevent refugees from even expressing the wish to return. Under these circumstances, it was impossible for UNHCR to organize repatriation.

17. Despite the intimidation, tens of thousands of "new caseload" refugees repatriated spontaneously especially during the third quarter of 1994. While intimidation in the camps was going on, UNHCR was also compelled to suspend organized repatriation assistance to Rwanda, in September 1994, because of allegations of human rights abuses in Rwanda. The suspension was lifted in December 1994. During the first two weeks of January, 5,445 Rwandese repatriated; the majority from the new caseload in the Goma camps. They were transported to Rwanda under Zairian security escort. It is not possible to organize repatriation without security escort, but the prospects of safe departure and travel may eventually prevent the intimidation and encourage more registration for repatriation. In South Kivu, intimidation and obstruction to repatriation have also been taking place. However, in some of the smaller camps in Bukavu where militia influence is less, significant numbers of refugees have expressed the wish to return. It is estimated that up to 40 per cent in those camps may be willing to return if UNHCR can guarantee their security once back in Rwanda.

18. While physical intimidation is the main obstacle for those willing to repatriate, political and psychological propaganda has also been used by the leaders to discourage repatriation. The leaders and political activists of the former Government have been active in the camps, organizing clandestine meetings and distributing pamphlets with inflamatory political overtones. The impact of such propaganda can effectively mobilize the refugees. A strategy of countering this propaganda has to be worked out to overcome psychological barriers against repatriation and to provide objective information to refugees on prospects for repatriation.

19. Security measures for the camps provided by local Zairian authorities in Kivu have so far been ad hoc and inadequate in coping with the security threats and maintaining law and order in the camps. Zairian security forces need considerable financial and technical support to be able to provide regular professional security. UNHCR has so far retained the services of a small contingent of 45 persons in North Kivu from units of the Division spéciale présidentielle (DSP) and the Service et Action des Renseignements Militaires (SARM) to provide stand-by services when required by relief workers for specific assignments. The forces are provided with incentives for their services, but their capability is far too limited.

B.        The United Republic of Tanzania

(i)         General Insecurity

20. The number of Rwandese refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania is approaching 600,000, spread among eight camps in the Kagera region. As in Zaire, the administrative structures in the camps reflect the administrative units which existed in Rwanda. Suspected former members of the militias are present in the camps as evidenced by the pattern of their activities which threaten refugees, relief workers and the local population. The early deployment of Tanzanian police in the camps and subsequent expansion of their presence has helped to curb some of the militia activities, but security in the camps remains volatile. Between August and October 1994, there were several security incidents in Ngara district suspected to have been perpetrated by militias and criminal elements in the camps. Persons believed to be infiltrators or spies were beaten and killed. Some local people have also been killed through mistaken identity. Tanzanian authorities claim that 26 Tanzanian nationals were killed in separate incidents during 1994. Several relief agencies reported attacks and robberies during the same period. The situation improved after the police contingent was reinforced in November 1994.

21. The presence and activities of militias have also been reported in Karagwe district where a group of armed militia operated from Mubale Island on the Kagera river and frequently harassed the local population. The group was forced to leave the island in November last year and to surrender their arms to the security forces. The police have foiled several plots by the former militias to sell or bring arms into the Kagenyi and Chyabalisa camps in Karagwe. The arrival of individuals and groups of Rwandese single young men from Zaire and Burundi in the Kagera region has created some suspicion as to their motives for moving to the United Republic of Tanzania. The young men, between 15 and 30 years old claim to be in search of family reunion. Some of them have been militant and aggressive. The authorities in the United Republic of Tanzania have taken steps to discourage such irregular movements. In Kigoma district, for example, the authorities have decided that individuals will be returned to their first country of asylum if they cannot provide adequate documentation from UNHCR or ICRC justifying their relocation to the United Republic of Tanzania.

(ii)        Humanitarian assistance

22. The deployment of a police contingent in the camps helped with the registration of refugees, which was carried out in July 1994 without serious security incidents. Food is distributed at the family level, and diversion and food leakages are estimated to be minimal. UNHCR is planning to undertake a second registration since Rwandese and Burundi refugees continued to arrive in Ngara district from Burundi at the rate of 1,000 per week throughout 1994. The number of new arrivals in January 1995 rose to 2,000 per week. The presence of police and guardians appointed by the leaders at food distribution sites have helped to regulate the food distribution system. The system is not without shortcomings; food diversion through extortion has taken place after beneficiaries have received their rations and food riots have sometimes been reported at distribution points when leaders and suspected militias tried to divert food, or when food did not arrive in sufficient quantities.

(iii)       Repatriation

23. The most serious security incidents in the refugee camps and settlements in the Kagera region are those directed against refugees wishing or attempting to repatriate. In August 1994, 19 refugees suspected of planning to return were killed in one incident at Benaco camp in Ngara. Various forms of intimidation against repatriation in all the camps have been reported and witnessed. Road blocks have frequently been placed at night on the highway and other roads from the United Republic of Tanzania to Rwanda to prevent repatriation. The former militias have been largely responsible for such acts. The refugees have, in effect, been denied the right to choose to return in safety.

24. Throughout 1994, UNHCR did not record any return movement among the refugees who had fled to the United Republic of Tanzania. Apart from the intimidation, it is more difficult to cross the border from the United Republic of Tanzania undetected because there are fewer crossing points across the Kagera River. However, Tanzanian Immigration Authorities recorded 27,794 "old caseload" Rwandese refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi who returned to Rwanda in 1994. Almost all the returnees organized their own repatriation, but had to be provided with police escort while travelling along the main road that passes through Benaco camp. There were several incidents when vehicles carrying returnees were attacked and the police had to intervene.

(iv)       Security measures

25. UNHCR has an agreement with the Tanzanian Government for policing the camps. A police contingent of about 180 persons was deployed within weeks of the first major influx. The contingent has been expanded to 310 in Ngara and Karagwe districts. Under the agreement, UNHCR has provided assistance worth more than US$ 250,000, covering items such as tents, communication equipment, food rations and incentive allowances. More police personnel and logistical support is required for the camps in the Kagera region. UNHCR, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands, has just completed an assessment mission to the United Republic of Tanzania to determine additional requirements and support to the Tanzanian Government in order to strengthen security in the camps. Enhanced security in the camps, as well as along routes used by returnees, would build confidence and ensure safety for refugees wishing to repatriate.

C.        Burundi

(i)         General insecurity

26. At the beginning of 1995, there were 284,000 Rwandese refugees in Burundi, mainly in the north. There are constant movements of refugees as some Rwandese continue to move from the former "Zone Turquoise" in the south-west Rwanda to Burundi and others pass through en route to the United Republic of Tanzania. The profile of the Rwandese refugees in Burundi is different from that in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire. From the very beginning, there were no former leaders, militias or soldiers of the former Government of Rwanda who identified themselves as such. The security problems created by this category of persons in the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire are not noticeable in the refugee camps in Burundi. The security concerns in these camps are part of the overall security situation in the country. Fear and uncertainty resulting from sporadic violence in different parts of the country has spilled over to the refugee camps. One refugee camp in Northern Burundi was the object of an armed attack in November 1994, during which some 40 refugees were killed.

27. It should be pointed out that, in 1994, Burundi was faced both with a large influx of refugees from Rwanda as well as the arrival of thousands of former Burundi refugees who had fled to Rwanda in the aftermath of the October 1993 events and had to return to Burundi because of the crisis in Rwanda. In addition, Burundi has a large number of internally displaced persons. Violence between different groups in Burundi has resulted in tension in parts of the country and has caused some new refugee outflows. UNHCR has made continuous efforts to remedy the situation centered essentially in an improved monitoring of security conditions through increased field presence, and vigorous démarches with the civilian and military authorities. International staff working with these populations have also been affected by incidences of violence. One UNHCR employee was killed in Kirundo in August 1994. UNHCR and NGOs are involved, in collaboration with the local authorities, in the identification of new sites, far from conflict or border areas to relocate the refugee camps.


28. In view of the above, it is clear that in this situation the human rights of bona fide refugees, such as their right to physical integrity and to freely express their wish to repatriate in safety, are seriously being violated, especially in refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania. In addition, however, many basic principles of international refugee law, aimed at avoiding the disturbance of public order in countries of asylum, and at maintaining good relations between countries of asylum and of origin, are being undermined. Refugees must abide by the laws and regulations of their country of asylum. The exclusively civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps or settlements, must not be jeopardized by military or para-military training and recruitment activities. In general, in view of the humanitarian and non-political character of asylum, refugees must be prevented from undertaking attempts to undermine inter-State relations or, as explicitly stated in the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, "from attacking any State Member of the OAU, by any activity likely to cause tension between Member States, and in particular by use of arms, through the press, or by radio". In addition, the incitement of ethnic and of ethnically based political hatred, through radio broadcasts or otherwise, is a direct violation of international, anti-discrimination instruments, and must be suppressed. At the same time, refugee camps and settlements must be protected against any outside armed attack.

29. The violations of basic international standards in refugee camps are compounded by the fact that those leaders, soldiers, militia members or others who have instigated, prepared or participated in the execution of the genocide in Rwanda, should not benefit from international refugee protection and assistance in the first place. Any exclusion must, however, be properly determined in the individual case. While UNHCR has a supervisory mandate, primary responsibility for such exclusion rests with the competent authorities of the countries of asylum, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention. If it is determined that certain individuals do not deserve refugee protection-in which case the principle of non-refoulement does not apply such persons may be subjected to extradition procedures, under conditions of due process. It is recalled in this context that, in accordance with the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, persons guilty of instigating, preparing or committing acts of genocide must be punished either in the country where such acts were committed, or by an International Tribunal.

30. The implementation of any exclusion in the individual case should, however, be feasible and should not, directly or indirectly, endanger the safety or well-being of bona fide refugees, of humanitarian personnel or of local communities. Exclusion from humanitarian assistance provided or coordinated by UNHCR, has been impossible, in view of the sheer number of persons implicated, problems of identification and the likely dangerous impact on the safety of humanitarian personnel and of others. Under the circumstances, UNHCR has seen no viable alternative than to continue ensuring the provision of humanitarian assistance to camp populations as a whole, in spite of the serious legal and moral dilemmas this poses to UNHCR itself and many NGOs operating in the camps.


31. The issue of security in Rwandese refugee camps in Zaire, the United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi has been a major preoccupation of the international community. As early as September 1994, the United Nations and the Government of Zaire set up a joint commission to look into the possibilities and modalities of separating and relocating the former political leaders, militias and military. The option entailed the removal of up to 90,000 persons, including dependents, from the camps to different parts of the country. The plan was found to be prohibitively expensive and operationally too complex to implement. In the United Republic of Tanzania, UNHCR had already entered into agreement with the authorities to deploy a police contingent in the refugee camps where the security situation was progressively coming under control.

32. In October 1994, the High Commissioner proposed a slightly modified security arrangement for eastern Zaire. In view of the scale of the problem there, a Zairian security contingent would be backed by international technical expertise provided through UNHCR. Given the acuteness of the problem in eastern Zaire and its possible regional ramifications, the United Nations Secretary-General deemed it necessary to involve the Security Council in addressing the security problems in the camps. Several options were considered, including the deployment of peace-keeping forces in the camps. The options have fallen through owing, inter alia, to insufficient troops, resources and time to execute the proposals.

33. Following discussions in Geneva on 10 January 1995 between the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner, it was agreed that UNHCR should explore other avenues to deal with the security situation in Eastern Zaire. In a letter dated 17 January 1995, the Secretary-General informed the Government of Zaire accordingly. UNHCR has already agreed with the Zairian Government on modalities for providing necessary assistance to enable Zaire to fulfil its responsibilities regarding security in refugee camps and settlements. An aide-mémoire between UNHCR and the Zairian Government was signed on 27 January 1995.

34. The overall objective of this plan is to enhance law and order and thus ensure reasonable security. This joint action will specifically address the following:

(a)  The improvement of law and order in the camps;

(b)  The prevention of intimidation and violence against candidates for voluntary repatriation to Rwanda;

(c)  The protection of humanitarian personnel, infrastructure, equipment and supplies deployed for the delivery of assistance;

(d)  The provision of escorts to convoys of refugees repatriating from the refugee camps to the Rwandese border.

The implementation of the plan, which has already started, will require contributions from Governments in the areas of personnel, finance, transport, communication and basic office equipment to support the security forces in both Zaire and the United Republic of Tanzania. Under the Agreement, the Zairian authorities will provide a contingent of 1,500 security personnel to be deployed in North and South Kivu for an initial period of five months. UNHCR will provide logistical support to the force and to the overall operation. To assist Zaire in the execution of the plan, a Civilian Security Liaison Group of about 50 persons will be attached to the Zairian force. The Liaison Group is under the overall jurisdiction of UNHCR; it will assist and advise the Zairian force on the management of the operation and monitor its performance.

35. In a separate letter from the United Nations Secretary-General to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania dated 23 January 1995, the Secretary-General endorsed and commended the bilateral arrangements between UNHCR and the United Republic of Tanzania for providing security in the refugee camps. He indicated that the international community would provide the necessary logistical support to the police contingent deployed in the camps located in the United Republic of Tanzania. The Secretary-General also informed the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania that the international community would not be in a position to provide the financial resources required for implementing other options. The results achieved so far by the deployment of the Tanzanian police contingent have been encouraging, there has been a marked improvement in the overall security situation in the camps, although new security problems are arising. It is therefore envisaged to increase the number of police personnel in the Kagera region. In the second communication to the Security Council on security in the Rwandese Refugee Camps (S/1995/65) dated 25 January 1995, the Secretary-General informed the Council of the new security arrangements.


36. An effective presence of law enforcement personnel in the refugee camps and settlements in both the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire should bring the precarious security situation under control. The enhanced presence and professional performance of the security forces in and around the camps as planned would improve the safety of refugees and relief workers and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. An effective presence would also contain the "intimidation factor" and allow voluntary repatriation of the refugees to Rwanda. These objectives are limited; they do not include the physical separation of the intimidators from the refugees. The plan for restoring security in the camps does not, in any way, prejudice other measures which the United Nations and the Governments of the countries of asylum and Rwanda may wish to take through the International Tribunal on genocide in the Rwanda.

37. It should also be noted that security in the refugee camps and settlements may become more volatile because of the proximity of the camps and settlements to the borders. It is further complicated by the presence of military elements in the camps. It has not been easy for the countries of asylum to find alternative sites for such large caseloads of refugees, particularly because of environmental constraints. The need for relocating refugees in the Goma area has become more urgent due to the high probability of a volcanic eruption in the vicinity of the camps. Scientists are predicting that the increasing volcanic activities of the two active volcanoes in the area, the Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira, could lead to an eruption within months. At least two camps with a total population of 500,000 and the population of Goma town may be threatened by the lava flow which could reach a speed of 40 Kilometres per hour. Contingency plans include relocation of the camps in all directions where sites can be found. The issue of camp locations, therefore, needs urgent attention.

1995/BUJCONF.4: INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO RWANDA AND BURUNDI (submitted by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs)

The events that followed a failed coup attempt in Bujumbura on 21 October 1993 and the conflict in Rwanda six months later, caused one of the largest humanitarian crises in the history of the UN. Although the international community's response was extremely quick and generous, the size of human tragedy posed nearly unsurmountable problems.

In Burundi, close to one million people fled their homes in October 1993. Tens of thousands were killed and 670,000 Burundi Nationals left their country and sought asylum: In Rwanda, 375,000; Tanzania, 245,000; and Zaire, 248,000 between 1993 and 1994.

Following the deaths of both Presidents from Rwanda and Burundi, violence was exceptionally horrifying with about 500,000 unarmed men, women, and children murdered in Rwanda.

These events had significant effects on population movements in and out of the country. A massive exodus took place during the conflict. At the beginning of 1995, the Rwandan refugee population in the neighbouring Zaire, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania was estimated at 2,3 million persons. Meanwhile, the Government of Rwanda estimated that about 600,000 of the one million Rwandese who had been exiled for extended periods, some for as long as 30 years, returned to the country between April and November.

A large part of the population, as many as 1.8 million became displaced inside Rwanda. Together, refugees and IDPs have made up to nearly 50% of Rwanda's pre-war population of 7.75 million people.

In Rwanda shortly after the onset of the disaster, the United Nations Rwanda Emergency Office (UNREO) was established to ensure a coordinated response to the emergency under the supervision of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Rwanda. An Office was also set up in Bujumbura. The high level of cooperation between UN Agencies resulted in the launching of an Inter-Agency Flash Appeal to cover emergency needs through 31 May and then the development of a Contingency Plan for the same period. An International Pledging Conference was held in Geneva in July to mobilize resources under the Consolidated Appeal covering the period July to December 1994. A new consolidated Appeal was launched on 18 January.

The emphasis in the early weeks of the emergency was on shelter, food and nutrition, water, sanitation and health. Through humanitarian assistance, organizations will continue with these activities. Widely disparate security status in different sections of the country have allowed for rehabilitation activities to commence in parallel with emergency programmes.

The flow of people out of Rwanda and Burundi showed that both access to a location of target populations might change rapidly, requiring a flexible and balanced relief response. Assistance must be provided to persons in need as soon as they can be reached, and it must follow them as they cross and recross as many as four international borders.

The speed and the size of the outflow from Rwanda posed difficult problems to the receiving countries and to the capacity of organizations to provide emergency assistance. Nevertheless, due to the rapid mobilization of humanitarian agencies and quick response from part of the international donor community, substantial assistance was provided.

The experience of large-scale cholera and dysentery epidemics in the camps during this period, which were controlled only after the death of thousands of refugees and at the expense of massive acute interventions, has led UN Agencies and NGOs to consider water supply, sanitation and hygiene education as one of the priority areas for future action, in addition to the continued supply of food and other relief assistance to the refugees. The months to come will also see enhanced efforts to create self-sufficiency among returnees and to bring schooling to the many children who fled Rwanda with their parents and relatives.

In 1995, the return of these children and their families to their country will be the ultimate objective of the humanitarian community. This goal will translate into an increased focus on activities which can prepare them for this return while meeting their immediate needs. In this respect, agencies are actively seeking to reduce the number of unaccompanied children in centres through active tracing, family reunification and prevention of child abandonment as well as support for foster care.

So far, according to estimates of the Government of Rwanda, 600,000 of those refugees who fled Rwanda between 1959 and 1993 have returned to their country following the establishment of the new Government. However, the rate of return of the "new caseload" of refugees since April has been slow. Rumours-many of them orchestrated-regarding the poor prospects of resuming normal life in Rwanda have spread among the refugee populations in recent months, especially with regard to land tenure and property difficulties. This, along with the fear of retaliation and concern that the largely destroyed public services in-country will be inadequate to ensure their well-being, has discouraged most families from leaving the camps. Only around 70,500 refugees among the "new caseload" are estimated to have returned to Rwanda from the four neighbouring countries up until the beginning of November.

In Rwanda, the extensive efforts deployed by the humanitarian community and the Government during the latter part of 1994 to restore the most essential public services and the public campaigning of the newly established Government of Rwanda to encourage the return of "new" refugees have failed to affect significantly the rate of refugee return. Moreover, the grip of former political leaders, military and militia on the refugee camps in Tanzania and Zaire have created a precarious security situation which continues to prevent the refugees from exercising their right to return and to hamper delivery of assistance.

The resources required to support the humanitarian efforts amounted to nearly US$ 590,000,000 for Rwanda of which 91.5% were covered by the end of November.

In Burundi, substantial spontaneous repatriation movements ocurred early in 1994, mainly from Tanzania. The start of civil war in Rwanda in April 1994 also precipitated the return of Burundi refugees from that country. As a result, only Tanzania and Zaire host significant numbers of Burundese refugees. The situation in Burundi continued to be of grave concern throughout 1994. At the end of December 1994, the number of Burundi refugees remains at approximately 6,000 in Rwanda, 62,000 in Tanzania and 136,000 in Zaire.

The events of October 1993 also resulted in a massive displacement of population inside Burundi. It is estimated that some 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) fled their "collines" and regrouped in different sites where their security could be ensured. While the IDP population in sites had decreased to 278,000 at the end of 1994, a considerable number of families have not yet decided to return home, due to the continued climate of insecurity in the country.

Around 550,000 Burundi returnees have regained their country of origin during 1994. Assistance to this population has often been disrupted by the lack of security in the areas of return and the sudden new influx of Rwandan refugees.

It is imperative that the international community, in collaboration with the relevant authorities, enhance its efforts to encourage the voluntary return of Rwandese and Burundese refugees to their country. Efforts initiated in 1994 to improve the conditions for return, on the part of UN Agencies in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and Burundi as well as host-country authorities, will therefore be substantially strengthened during 1995.

The financial information pertaining to the Humanitarian Assistance provided to the victims in 1994 and the requirements of the UN system for 1995 are attached in the annex.




Throughout the course of the 1994 Rwandese emergency, WFP has received cash donation towards the Rwanda Regional Emergency Operation which amount to some US$ 30,041,486. A total of US$ 24,884,867, including in-kind contributions for airlifts, staff and storage tents, has been committed through mid-December 1994, leaving a carryover of US$ 5,156,619.

The cash contributions towards this operation have been divided among the countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire, to efficiently assist the Rwandese population dispersed throughout the region.

Logistics mobilisation accounts for the largest portion of 1994 cash expenditures. However, due to the rapid mobilisation of a trucking fleet at the beginning of the operation in July 1994, WFP was able to save on initial requirements of some US$ 16 million for the deployment of aircraft alone to carry out food deliveries. Actual commitments towards airlift operations are substantially lower, at just over US$ 4 million.

WFP currently uses two main transport routes into the region. The northern corridor consists of road or rail connection from the port of Mombassa to Kampala, from where commodities are then forwarded by road to Rwanda and Zaire. WFP is currently fortifying the southern corridor supply line via Dar-es-Salaam-Isaka-Kigali with the repair of rail wagons for the Tanzanian Railways Corporation (TRC) to further facilitate delivery of commodities to the region. A recent WFP logistics mission has estimated that the TRC can provide WFP with a share capacity of 30,000 MTs per month on the rail line. Moreover, favourable transport rates have been negotiated with both the Tanzania port authorities and the TRC.

The Dar-es-Salaam-Kigoma-Bujumbura-Uvira rail/lake route is the most economical for those destinations. However, poor port performance in Bujumbura coupled with erratic availability of lake transport capacity has rendered this approach less serviceable. To rectify this shortcoming, WFP has started implementating of a port and equipment rehabilitation and supply project. Total 1994 commitments for special logistics operations including Tanzania rail support, Burundi port equipment and lake operations amount to over US$ 7 million.

Operation costs have been heavy in the region partly due to the purchase of vehicles, establishment of offices and communications equipment which were not available prior to the crisis. Support costs for these and others amount to some US$ 7.5 million.

To ensure the smooth delivery of commodities, WFP has ensured that staff is positioned at every point of the food line. With over 100 international staff and almost 300 national staff working in the region, personnel costs have been also particularly high. International, local and UNV staff account for US$ 6.3 million of 1994 overall expenditures.


Cash contributions, excluding food and food related contributions: all amounts relate to the regional emergency operation, i.e. costs of the operation in Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


In spite of operating conditions which have often been extremely difficult, WFP has provided food and non-food assistance to over 3.4 million people in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire throughout the second half of 1994.

Operations in the regions as a whole have been dominated by emergency feeding programmes for refugee and internally displaced populations, requiring as much as 60,000 MTs of food per month. However, in Rwanda and Burundi, WFP and other agencies have actively sought opportunities to use food in order to promote rehabilitation. Programmes already initiated to foster agricultural self-sufficiency, rebuild infrastructure and strengthen government capacity are likely to become an increasingly prominent feature of operations in these countries.

Against a regional food requirement of 344,428 MTs for the period July-December 1994 (valued at US$ 195,921,017), donor contributions to date amount to 328,094 MTs (valued at US$ 184,944,571). This amounts to 94.4% of the overall food requirement. While this favourable overall resourcing picture was clouded in certain periods by difficulty in procuring certain commodities on regional and international markets, late shipments and consequent ruptures in the pipeline, WFP managed to maintain a strong schedule of deliveries to the majority of in-land destinations, using road, rail, barge and, where necessary, air transport.

WFP estimates that approximately 163,148 MTs of food for the region will be carried over for use in 1995. Reasons for this large carryover depend on a combination of factors such as late pledges, late shipments/late deliveries of regional purchases and/or logistics constraints.

Within Rwanda, the overall food aid requirement for 1995 as presented in Volume I is 115,816 MTs, valued at US$ 66,871,973. WFP estimates a total of 41,591 MTs (representing approximately 36% of the needs) in carryovers of stocks and scheduled arrivals for 1995, and projects an overall shortfall of 74,225 MTs (valued at US$ 46,064,860) still to be covered by new donor contributions.

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

For the sub-region (Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire), the overall food aid requirement for 1995 as presented in Volume II is 565,860 MTs, valued at US$ 312,506,473. WFP estimates a total of 121,557 MTs in carryover of stocks and scheduled arrivals for 1995, and projects an overall shortfall of 444,303 MTs (valued at US$ 238,713,164) still to be covered by new donor contributions.


In the five months which followed the issuance of the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal on Rwanda, UNICEF received a total of US$ 47 million in cash contributions (see chart below) and an additional US$ 3 million in-kind contributions. This response to an appeal for US$ 55 million is unprecedented for UNICEF. It was clearly due to the wide coverage of the horrors of the war and the tremendous public and governmental response to that coverage. UNICEF was thus able to provide substantial emergency relief assistance both within Rwanda and in the refugee areas in Tanzania, Uganda and Eastern Zaire.

Programme Funding 1994

Programme Support (9.02%)
Relief Items (8.64%)
CEDC (6.14%)
Education (13.63%)
Water, Sanitation (20.92%)
Health (26.8%)
Nutrition (14.20%)
Advocacy/Info (0.58%)

Note that this chart does not include additional in-kind contributions valued approximately US$ 3 million.

UNICEF is reporting comprehensively to each donor on the use of their funds and on implementation of projects according to the usual reporting procedures and in the agreed time frame.

Constraining factors in the implementation of UNICEF assistance in 1994 have been external and internal in nature: First, as far as external factors are concerned, the main problem was and still is the weak institutional, managerial and implementing capacity of Government at all levels (central, prefectures and communes); trained manpower is lacking (killed, displaced or having fled abroad); financial resources are limited and essential equipment and logistics are just not available; a second constraining factor has been the large resource and technical assistance requirements to assist a high number of beneficiaries and to repair damages made to essential infrastructures (public buildings, schools, health centres, water supply systems, power grid); third, continuing insecurity in certain areas, especially in the south west, still impacts on the mobility of the population and complicates field operations.

Internal factors also hampered the delivery of UNICEF assistance: First, many national staff members were killed and many other scattered to other locations; second, a totally new office had to be re-installed in Kigali as a result of the looting and mining of the old office, and additional sub-offices had to be set up in Gikongoro (Rwanda), Goma and Bukavu (Zaire) and Ngara (Tanzania); third, staffing was initially insufficient and characterised by high turnover; finally, operations procedures had to be accelerated to face the emergency.


Contributions reported by WHO between July and December 1994 totalled US$ 2,191,117, in addition to US$ 2,378,000 in pledges not yet received.

WHO activities in Rwanda during that period were as follows:

•     Analysis of an assessment of the needs for rehabilitation of the health system, i.e. the recovery of the health infrastructure and, in particular, the need for equipment, financial and human resources.

•     Support in re-launching the activities of the national anti-malaria programme and in the follow-up on the study of the resistance of "Plasmodium Falciparum" to chloroquine.

•     Consultancy mission to elaborate a biannual plan to combat diarrhoeal diseases and a protocol for surveillance of the chemio-resistance of the germ Shigella dysentery.

•     Strengthening the Central Laboratory of the Kigali Central Hospital to provide diagnostic information for diseases surveillance.

•     Re-establishment of the national Acute Respiratory Infections programme, followed by training of health workers in the control and treatment of cases.

•     Development of a plan for the resumption of anti-TB activities through the support of a consultant and the distribution of TB kits.

•     Planning for a programme on the subject of maternity without risk.

•     Consultative mission addressing the sectors of hygiene, provision of water supply and sanitation in the city of Kigali and other large towns, as well as in the IDP camps.

•     Strengthening the capacity for epidemiological surveillance, especially by providing training to Ministry of Health staff. Establishment of a centralised health data system that will allow for the early detection of disease outbreaks and support decision-making at central and regional levels.

•     Mission for the evaluation of the national essential drugs policy and its implementation.

These activities have contributed to the tireless efforts of the Ministry of Health in its role of coordinating health and sanitation activities and have also helped to build up mutual confidence between the Ministry and WHO. Meanwhile, the Ministry organised a health seminar in October 1994 and identified five priority issues requiring urgent solutions in the short, medium and long terms.

The funds mobilised in response to the last Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal were insufficient for WHO, either to carry out its activities in the field of epidemiological surveillance or to provide technical support for health activities in Rwanda and in the refugee camps. A report on the use of funds is provided to the concerned donors upon completion of each project.

Funds received or pledged-Breakdown by donor (As of 30 November 1994)

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


As a result of the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal launched in July 1994, FAO received US$ 8,084,078 in total contributions. These include:

•     US$ 800,000 to assist the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the coordination of emergency assistance and in the evaluation of the crop and the food supply situation. This assistance, funded by the Technical Cooperation Programme of FAO, initiated in August 1994 and will continue in 1995; funds for this activity are not appealed for in the present document.

•     US$ 7,284,078 for the provision of agricultural inputs. The operations planned for the September 1994-January 1995 farming season were carried out, and most of the funds have been utilised.

The status of FAO's emergency programe for 1994 is shown in the table below:

STATUS OF FAO'S 1994 PROGRAMME (As of 30 November 1994)

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


In the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal issued in mid-1994, UNESCO's request for donor funding towards its emergency education proposals met with no support; however, with the strong personal commitment of the Agency's Director-General, an emergency budget of US$ 477,000 was assigned to the Rwanda Operation, UNESCO-PEER (Programme for Education for Emergencies and Reconstruction) being at the forefront of that operation. By end December 1994, at least US$ 202,000 will have been allocated by UNESCO for emergency education activities inside Rwanda.

While UNESCO-PEER has had an active presence inside Rwanda since the beginning of September 1994, its involvement with the Rwandan crisis actually began quite early: in May, at the PEER's regional centre in Nairobi, a team of international and Rwandese educators began to work upon the translation and adaptation of an emergency curriculum for the core subjects of Kinyarwanda and mathematics for the first four grades of primary school that was to became an integral part of the Teacher Emergency Package (TEP). The latter is central to the joint UNESCO-UNICEF emergency education programme for Rwanda.

With a clear prioritisation of the needs of basic education, the main features of UNESCO's intervention in the emergency phase of the Rwanda Operation thus far have been as follows:

•     Establishment of a continuing presence of national and international expertise in order to furnish programme support and technical assistance;

•     design, prototype-production, testing and production of educational materials (TEP, mine and cholera awareness);

•     distribution inside Rwanda of educational materials (TEP, mine awareness);

•     preparation of and logistics support for TEP-related "train-the-trainer" workshops at national and prefectural levels, plus follow-up, supervision and data collection;

•     organisation of mine-awareness campaign workshops at national and prefectural levels;

•     international consultancies (survey of primary schools rehabilitation needs; psycho-social/trauma education; planning);

•     organisation of a national seminar on emergency assistance to and reconstruction of Rwanda's educational system;

•     assessment of educational needs and available capacity vis-a-vis curriculum development, training, textbook production and educational statistics.

UNESCO also faced the following problems and constraints:

•     Difficulties in distribution and logistics affecting the speedy and timely provision of TEPs and related training. These difficulties have arisen from the weakened infrastructure of the country, especially at communal and school-centre levels; as a consequence, the UNESCO-UNICEF programme has been forced to prioritise grades 1 and 2 for the distribution of TEP kits, whereas the original intention was to supply TEPs to the first four grades at least;

•     the re-starting of schooling affected the programme by subtracting 75% of the national-level trainers, who were forced to resume their regular school duties;

•     more broadly, the weakness of national structures and lack of governmental resources at central, prefectural and communal levels have handicapped the delivery of educational services.

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


Out of an estimated total of some US$ 3.3 million spent under IOM's Rwanda operations in 1994, vehicle purchase, spare parts and insurance have accounted for approximately US$ 1.7 million, while vehicle rentals for the year amount to some US$ 350,000. Fuel costs for IOM-owned as well as rented vehicles during 1994 total US$ 400,000.

Communications equipment purchased for IOM operations in 1994 cost around US$50,000, whilst EDP equipment purchase, installation and operating costs total US$ 150,000.

On average over 150 local staff have been employed over the year, mostly in transport operations, to a total cost of US$ 120,000. Administration, rental and overhead costs of IOM's six Rwanda offices plus one in Goma, Zaire, total US$ 150,000 while an allocation to headquarters for programme support has been made in the amount of US$ 250,000.

Finally, salaries and related costs for IOM's international staff, both in Rwanda and at headquarters, amount to approximately US$ 130,000 for the year.

The status of donor contributions/pledges for IOM is outlined in the table below:


(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

* Additionally, IOM has signed two separate agreements with UNHCR to implement transport operations in support of their repatriation programme for refugees, and for IDP's in the South West. In connection with this programme, UNHCR has agreed to fund IOM in the amount of approximately US$ 2.4 million, of which to date US$ 1,453,036 has been received.


UNHCHR reports that out of a total of US$ 4,153, 100 in pledges, an amount of US$ 667,136 has been received. Pending the receipt of sufficient contributions to initiate the field operation, the High Commissioner called upon US$ 3,000,000 advanced from the Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF). It is estimated that some US$ 2,300,000 will have been committed by the end of December, leaving a balance of US$ 1,367,136. Based on current staffing costs (estimated at US$ 530,000 per month) as well as other requirements for non-post items, it is estimated that (at current deployment levels) the funds available would allow a continuation of the field operations for approximately two months.


(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


UNV reported receiving contributions from Japan (US$ 200,000), Sweden (US$ 133,764) and the United Kingdom (US$ 152,905) in response to the 1994 Consolidated Appeal.

The Japanese contribution (US$ 200,000) will finance 51 months of assignments of UNV specialists of Japanese nationality, in support of humanitarian relief assistance in Ngara and Karagwe, in Tanzania. These include:

•     Four food aid monitors collaborating with WFP to ensure adequate monitoring and delivery of food and humanitarian relief to Rwandese refugees;

•     four logistics/field officers working with UNHCR and providing multi-sectoral assistance to refugees; and

•     one assistant education officer assigned to the UNESCO programme for education for emergency and reconstruction.

The funds from the Swedish Government will cover various relief activities undertaken by UNV in support of UN Agency programmes for the victims of the Rwanda crisis. These involve the deployment of three food aid monitors with WFP in Kigali, Goma and Bukavu with duties that entail the distribution, monitoring and management of emergency food supplies to the IDPs, returnees and refugees, as well as three liaison/logistics officers assigned to DHA Field Coordination Offices in Rwanda, presently assisting the UN Rwanda Emergency Office in its coordination and logistics support to the UN Agencies' humanitarian effort. All of these assignments will cover a six-month period.

The contribution from the Government of the United Kingdom will finance 39 months of UNV services as follows:

•     Two UNV Information Officers and two UNV Logistics Officers to support DHA field coordination activities in the region. Three of these are assigned to operational centres in Rwanda, and the fourth supports the work of DHA Liaison Officers in Burundi and manages the DHA Office in Bujumbura,

•     Two Operations Officers who will work under the supervision of the IOM head of mission in Kigali and Goma and will be responsible for carrying out activities related to the orderly return movements and transportation of IDPs and returnees,

•     Three month-assignment of one UNV Assistant Education Officer working with UNESCO's Education for Emergency and Reconstruction Programme in Tanzania.


Contributions for UNREO for 1994 totalled US$ 1,793,533, in addition to US$ 144,300 in pledges not yet received. Out of this total of US$ 1,937,833, UNREO reports that an estimated US$ 886,198 had been spent as of mid-December and most of the balance already committed. The status of the UNREO programme for 1994 can be found in the tables below:


(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

UNREO EXPENDITURES FOR 1994 (As of 8 December 1994)

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

* US$ 235,204,100 represents the total cost of UNHCR Operation in Burundi, Tanzania, Zaire and Uganda. An additional US$ 44,275,700 (as represented in Volume 1) is required in assistance for Rwandan returnees and IDPs within Rwanda. Thus, UNHCR's total budget for its Special Operations in 1995 amounts to US$ 279,479,800.

** Funds requested here represent the total food requirement for the period January to December 1995. However, taking into account donor contributions already in the pipeline which will be distributed in 1995 the outstanding needs for emergency food aid for 1995 are some 444,303 MTs at a total cost of approximately US$ 238,713,164.

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

* Funds requested here represent the total food requirement for the period January to December 1995. However, taking into account donor contributions already in the pipeline which will be distributed in 1995, the outstanding needs for emergency food aid for 1995, are some 74,225 MTs at a total cost of apprax. US$ 46,064.860.

1995/BUJCONF.5: NOTE ON THE SITUATION REGARDING INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN BURUNDI (Submitted by the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs)


1.   The situation in the Great Lakes region has been described as a calamity without Precedent. The massive waves of violence in Burundi in 1993, and the systematic genocide and massacres in Rwanda the following year, cost the lives of as many as one million People, leading to population movements unparalleled in recent refugee history. The impact of these events has had severe repercussions across the Region, exacerbating an already complex problem of refugees and displaced persons, and creating a climate ripe for further political strife and violence.

2.   In spite of some earlier positive trends, conditions in Burundi have deteriorated in recent months. The political uncertainty which has prevailed for the last two years has manifested itself in a highly volatile situation which has left the country on the brink of a new crisis. A 7 pm.-5 am curfew has been in effect in the capital, Bujumbura, since 21 December 1994 but security in the city, as elsewhere, continues to be a serious concern.

3.   The situation in Burundi is exacerbated by the regional dimensions of the crisis which followed events in Rwanda in 1994. As well as almost half a million of its own internally displaced persons, there are large numbers of Rwandan refugees in the country. There is also the threat posed by armed extremists amongst refugee populations in Zaire and Tanzania.

4.   As part of efforts to stabilise conditions in Burundi and alleviate the problems of neighbouring countries, a major focus in 1995 will be the organised return of displaced and refugee populations to their home communes. This paper reviews the problems faced in relation to displaced persons in Burundi and describes some of the practical steps being taken to address them.


5.   Over the years, conflicts, massacres and political tensions have led to multiple, large scale population movements within the country. As a result, it is now estimated that around half a million people arc no longer in their areas of origin and are living in makeshift camps, or on hillsides. In addition, an unknown number have sought refuge in towns. The situation of internally displaced persons has been further exacerbated by the recent return of former refugees, who fled from Burundi from the 1917's onwards.

6.   Events in Burundi in 1993 and their aftermath severely impacted Burundi's economy. Data indicates that GDP fell by almost 6% in 1993, while GNP per head dropped from US$ 220 in 1992 to US$ 170 in 1994. Agricultural production-the mainstay of some 90% of the Burundi population-saw a sharp decline in 1994, largely as a result of population movements.

7.   Even before the 1993 crisis, Burundi faced serious problems in the Field of public health. These perennial problem have been exacerbated by insecurity, population displacements, damaged infrastructure and shortage of trained personnel. Dysentery was especially virulent in 1993/1994, while malaria has increased in morbidity in both the highlands and lowlands. The harsh living conditions of Burundi's displaced have left them particularly susceptible; acute respiratory problem and sexually transmitted diseases arc increasing, particularly amongst camp populations. In the case of the latter, this is a likely precursor to a higher incidence of HIV.

8.   The situation for Burundi's displaced women and children is especially precarious. In a society dominated by subsistence farming, the loss of women's resource base is particularly significant. A major and more incisive consequence of the ongoing ethnic violence is the growing number of orphaned and unaccompanied children. To date, some 14,000 unaccompanied children have been identified. More than 11,000 of these children have now been placed with extended or foster families, but large numbers are suffering from the traumatic consequences of violence and poor living conditions.

9.   The problem of Burundi's internally displaced persons is highly complex, due in part to different reasons for displacement and the times when they were displaced. Over the last year, a specific terminology has developed in Burundi to describe the various displaced groups. "Deplaces" are mainly those gathered in camps, often protected by the military. "Disperses" are those scattered in rural areas, mostly in the hills, or living with extended family. A third group include former refugees, who fled to Tanzania, Rwanda or Zaire at various times and have now returned to Burundi. Amongst the "hidden" displaced are those who have left rural areas and moved into towns. Each of these categories of displacement faces different problems. Hence programmes will need to be tailored to their specific needs

10. Due to many factors, including the frequency and suddenness of population movements and the locations of displaced persons, accurate numbers of people no longer n their areas of origin are difficult to ascertain. Based on the number of displaced persons currently provided with free food rations, a planning figure of 500,000 has been established, 300,000 of whom are in camps.

11. Thanks to efforts in 1994 by the Government, the UN, NGOs and other international partners in providing food, health and water interventions, conditions for displaced populations have improved. Wide-spread epidemics of dysentery, for example, have been avoided in the 1994/1995 season. With assistance from UNICEF, WHO and cooperating NGOs, EPI services and essential drugs are currently available in at least 80% of operating health centres. Large-scale free food distribution by WFP and specific nutritional interventions have led to significant improvements in nutritional levels. Yet, in spite of these achievements, continued progress in all sectors is hampered by a lack of human resources, infrastructure and materials, stemming from, and compounded by, the security problem the country is presently facing.

12. As part of efforts to reinstall displaced persons in their home communes, a new Ministry for the Reintegration and Reinstallation of Displaced persons and Returnees was created in October 1994. Various donors have also combined to purchase seeds which were distributed to most displaced persons during the planting seasons in 1994. WFP estimates that up to 70% of displaced persons currently receiving free food assistance have access to some land. Through the distribution of seeds, 50% of the total displaced population may have grown sufficient crops in the present harvest to no longer require food aid in 1"5. Given this, it is imperative that beneficiaries of free food aid are reduced, so as not to affect local agricultural production.

13. In order to assess the impact of aid provided to displaced persons in four provinces of Burundi, a mission was undertaken in January 1995 by UNHCR, ECHO, WFP, CARE International and the Ministry of Reintegration and Reinstallation of Displaced and Returnees. Two other objectives of the Mission were to compare the type and amounts of aid channelled into the affected provinces and to look at interventions for 1995.

14. Although not exhaustive, interviews with displaced persons in these four areas revealed a number of common problems affecting their ability-and willingness-to reintegrate in their home communes. These problems are dealt with in the following sections.


15. In northern Burundi, security remains a key for both the return of displaced persons to their home areas and their willingness to stay there. Many displaced persons, who are dose enough to home to cultivate their own fields, return to camps at night because they feel safer.

16. In some cases, political tensions, and the fear that it will result in widespread violence, have caused people who returned to their homes to flee back to the camps. Thus, while security is critical, political stability remain the main key to returning the country to full productivity.

17. Parallel to this, is the issue of impunity. As long as the perpetrators of massacres, assassinations and other serious crimes remain free and unpunished, many displaced persons will not be convinced that it is safe for them to return home. In interviews with camp populations, the Mission was told that, generally speaking, neighbours of the displaced were not hostile; the main threat was from groups of people deliberately willing to upset public order. In this regard, it was noted that local authorities can have a major impact on reintegration efforts through showing a resolve to tackle crime and bringing those responsible to justice.

House/land access/productivity

18. Demographic pressure on land in Burundi has increased from 140 inhabitants per square kilometre in 1979 to 225 inhabitants/square kilometre in 1994. Over the years, increasing population pressures has led to stiff competition for diminishing fertile lands. With the return of large numbers of former refugees, land issues, including land ownership and land reforms, need to be addressed by the Government as a matter of urgency. In this respect, it should be noted that access to land, among other issues, has also led to increased tensions among camp populations and host communities.

19. During the January Mission, it was found that in some areas, particularly provinces in the centre and south of the country, lack of housing is a major impediment to the reintegration of displaced persons. As a first phase in the process of reintegration, the distribution of plastic sheeting and utensils may suffice, but substantial assistance is required for the rebuilding of damaged homes and for the provision of new shelter.

20. In a number of cases, families have moved into homes and land which they do not own. While the problem of illegal occupancy can only be resolved by the Government of Burundi, it will become an increasing source of tension as more displaced persons and refugees return home.

21. The Mission confirmed that most displaced persons have access to some land for cultivation. This includes access to their own land, due to proximity of camps to former homes. Some provincial authorities have also taken the initiative to provide land specifically for cultivation by displaced persons. Where people have fled long distances from their home areas and no land has been provided for them, many have now become totally dependant upon humanitarian assistance. However, there were dear indications that many people in this position would be willing to move closer to their homes and cultivate their fields, if secure camps were established in their areas of origin. This would also be a positive first step towards their reintegration in home communes, as well as giving them the means to become productive in the interim.

22. Women will continue to play critical roles in helping Burundi return to full productivity, as well as in national reconciliation efforts. In order to ensure that displaced women are brought fully into these processes, their existing capacities will need to be identified and nurtured. This will require a new approach by all partners, both local and international, which moves beyond meeting immediate survival needs and addresses the impact and relationship of assistance to long-term development.

23. Priority areas where women must be supported are economic empowerment, including training and adequate capital investment, mental health services and increased access to health care and education services. For the long-term good of the country, the ability of women to participate in political and civil leadership, as well as reconciliation efforts, needs to be encouraged and supported by the Government and the international community.

24. For a variety of reasons, including security and ethnic mixes, large numbers of displaced persons will not return to their home areas. To avoid the continuation of free food assistance, such people will need help to become productive in their present locations. The special needs of displaced persons who are in urban areas will also have to be addressed. Although many are living in poor conditions, some have established small businesses or survive through begging and it is unlikely that they will be willing, or able, to return to rural life.

25. The Mission found that camp populations were subjected to misinformation and propaganda campaigns, reintegration in areas of origin. This was particularly apparent in camps long distances from home areas.

Humanitarian Assistance

26. Differences were found in the level of non-food aid provided to each of the four provinces surveyed, depending upon the respective implementing agency. There were also variations within the provinces, and within the camps themselves. To a degree, such variations noted by the Mission reflect the need for different responses based on different conditions. They also highlight security constraints which vary in each area surveyed. An added consideration is the funding level of implementing partners which obviously dictates what they are able to deliver.

27. In addition, there were also many misperceptions on the part of local authorities and beneficiaries alike, as to roles and capacities of the various humanitarian partners. This was further complicated by the lack of an agreed policy on assistance for displaced persons. In this regard, the Mission noted the need for a clear, concise strategy on the part of the Government and the international community for programmes for the displaced. As well as establishing roles, the strategy should define the types and levels of assistance which are to be provided for the various categories of displaced persons.

28. Diversion of relief assistance is becoming an increasingly serious' concern. Losses during transportation or distribution are rising in both quantity and frequency. Beneficiary lists in camps are inflated, partially due to the frequent movement of populations amongst camps. This has resulted, in some cases, in the same beneficiaries being registered two or more times over in different places. There is the added problem that at least a part of the displaced beneficiary groups are salaried officials, or are otherwise self-sufficient. The combination of these factors has resulted in some cases in the oversupply of relief commodities. The marketing of the diverted and/or surplus goods has had a negative impact on local economies. Prices of local produce are suppressed, which impacts on the willingness of farmers to continue to grow surpluses in the following season.

29. Also, due to the problem noted above, UN Agencies and NGOs have been forced to use assets, which could be utilised more effectively for rehabilitation programmes, for emergency care and maintenance programmes.


30. The long series of political crises have paralysed the Parliament and it has only recently voted the 1995 budget. As a result of recent political events, funds lave not yet been transferred to the Ministry for Reintegration and Reinstallation of Displaced Persons and Returnees. A Government policy for the displaced exists, but has not been implemented, nor circulated to provincial levels. The current political crisis and escalating violence has also forced the Government to focus attention on immediate events, particularly those occurring in Bujumbura. This has prevented some important directives being enforced and has led to provincial authorities taking their own initiatives, without any support from their hierarchy, for matters involving displaced persons.

31. As noted earlier, some provincial authorities have taken some positive steps, not without risk to their personal safety. However, the lack of a dear policy has undoubtedly led to inaction on the part of most provincial authorities.

Conclusions Reached by the Mission


-     There can be no durable solution to the issues of displaced persons until there is a political resolution to the crisis in Burundi;

-     There is an urgent need for a well defined national policy for displaced persons, so that international partners can establish a clear framework for intervention;

-     The roles and limitations of humanitarian partners should be clearly understood by Government authorities and by displaced beneficiaries. In this respect, it was determined that a wide-spread information campaign was needed;

-     Efforts should be made to assist displaced persons who live far from their home areas to move closer to their land so that they can be helped to become productive;

-     Food to camp populations should be gradually decreased while efforts increasingly are focused in areas of origin through rehabilitation/development activities. Such efforts would include food for work activities which can accelerate efforts aimed at the restoration of social services.


33. Based on all of the above, it is dear that concerted efforts are needed on the part of the Government and the international community if durable solutions are to be found to the complex problem or displaced persons in Burundi.

34. A clearly defined Plan of Action, involving all partners, is critical if efforts in 1995 are to be successful as regards the reintegration of displaced persons and their return to productivity. Underpinning the Plan of Action is the need for political stability. The Government will also need to tackle-on an urgent basis-some other long standing issues which have helped shape the present crisis. These include the issue of impunity, strengthening of the judiciary system, implementing land reform measures, and training both old and new members of the civil services and the army. Further prerequisites to successful reintegration programmes include the following:

On the part of the Government

35. There must be a dear commitment by the Government to assist displaced persons who wish to return home to reintegrate in their areas of origin, as well as help those unable to return to home communes to become productive in their present locations. As part of this, issues such as land ownership and illegal occupation of land and houses need to be addressed.

36. The Government will need to redefine present levels of free food assistance to help avoid dependency and to encourage people to focus on self-reliance and the return to full productivity. In this respect, Government support to ensure that women are fully involved in the Planning and implementation of programmes which promote a return to normality is crucial. Given the amount of crops likely to be produced by displaced people in the next harvest, the need to phase down free food aid to more justifiable levels must be recognised.

On the part of the International Community

37. The International community must support Government-led efforts for the displaced, both in terms of assisting the Government to establish a clear policy, and in ensuring sufficient funds and other resources are available for programmes which enable displaced persons to reintegrate in home communes, or become productive in their present locations. The cost of reintegration programmes and those designed to help restore productivity win require a heavy investment on the part of the international community. They will need to be linked to rehabilitation/development activities. Investments by multi-lateral donors are also required to ensure sustainability of these efforts, and to further enhance productivity through increased employment/income-generating activities.

38. As part of these efforts, there should be consensus among the international community on the phase out of continued bulk food aid assistance and to a parallel increase in efforts in areas of origin or in new settlement areas.

39. As a step towards developing a practical Plan of Action for displaced persons, the following actions are proposed:


40. Establish a Displaced Persons Task Force at the highest level, comprising relevant ministries and the international community. The mandate of the Task Force will be to develop a dear policy towards the displaced to guide and support actions by the ministries concerned, as well as local administrations, national and international organisations. The Task Force will lead and coordinate all efforts for the displaced.

41. In order to identify more dearly the magnitude and types of problems to be addressed, the Government will, need to mobilise efforts to ensure more accurate registration of displaced persons, including newly displaced. There is also an urgent need for data reflecting the individual situations of the various groups of displaced persons, including their ability to be reintegrated into areas of origin.

42. To ensure the implementation and coordination of a defined strategy, the Government will need to put a number of Mechanisms into place. These include the formulation of a budget ensuring adequate resources and specifying national and international contributions. Other actions include:

i.    Define inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms at central and local levels, and create them where they do not exist, to ensure coherent action and allocation of resources by national and international parties;

ii.    Organise campaigns to sensitise the population to the need to be self-sufficient and to avoid being dependent on aid;

iii.   Organise confidence building measures, including a campaign to reduce the threat from propaganda campaigns in the camps. This would include information related to the reintegration programme, the roles and responsibilities of the various partners and, where needed, organised visits of camp populations to areas of origin. In this respect, it should be noted that some Governors have already taken the initiative to establish special committees, comprising Hutu and Tutsis, to facilitate reintegration into areas of origin;

iv.   Individual Government Ministries must be responsible for defining policy within the different sectors to facilitate actions for displaced persons.

UN, NGOs and Donors


i.    Enhance the Government's capacity to define its policy for displaced persons;

ii.    Strengthen the Government's capacity to assume the lead and coordinating roles in programmes for the displaced at central and provincial levels;

iii.   Support the Task Force to be established by ensuring that adequate resources are available for the implementation of defined programmes;

iv.   Support the Government to reintegrate those willing to return to home communes through programmes which improve conditions in areas of origin, including restoration of adequate social services, schools, housing, income generating opportunities and/or the resumption of agro-economic activities;

v.   Assist those unable to return home through programmes which provide them with income-generation and employment opportunities in their present locations;

vi.   Where new land is made available for the displaced, support the Government to install adequate infrastructure, including a full range of social services;

vii.  Continue to provide life-saving care and programmes, until, other more durable solutions are found.


A.        PREAMBLE

1.   Following the succession of tragic events which have been hitting both Burundi and Rwanda for a number of years, Central and Eastern African countries are now facing the worst refugee problem in the whole continent. It was against this background that the 60th Ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, in June 1994, adopted Resolution CM/Res. 1527 (LX) which was further endorsed by the 49th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly through its Resolution A/Res.49/7. The resolutions called for the holding of a Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region.

2.   The objective of the Conference was to reach firm commitments on immediate, practical measures necessary to address the serious security and humanitarian concerns in the region.

3.   The Regional Conference was accordingly held at Ministerial level in Bujumbura, Burundi, from 15-17 February 1995 and addressed the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes region on a humanitarian and non-political basis. The Conference, which was held under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was attended inter alia by the countries of the region, Tunisia, Egypt and Ethiopia, in their respective capacities as current, past and future Chairmen of the OAU, the OAU Commission of Twenty on Refugees, Members of UNHCR's Executive Committee, other countries, the Economic Community of the Countries of the Great Lakes (CEPGL), United Nations Agencies and other international organizations, as well as by representatives of Non-governmental Organizations (NGO).

4.   The Conference was apprised of the social, economic and political manifestations of the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes Region. It noted the high number of refugees, returnees and displaced persons involved, for targeted action and response, and that these refugees are mainly found in camps in Zaire, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. The Conference reaffirmed that the right of return applies to all refugees.

5.   The Conference underscored the fact that the problem of refugees and displaced persons in the region had become alarming as the very survival of hundreds of thousands of the affected persons was increasingly being threatened, in addition to the threat to the general stability of countries in the region. The above adverse effects arising from the continued presence of refugees and persistent movements of displaced persons on the development process in the affected countries were equally alarming and a source of grave concern. The Conference expressed particular concern about the situation of many refugee and displaced women and about the tragedy of large numbers of unaccompanied children.

6.   The Conference reaffirmed that the impunity of those who have instigated, prepared or committed acts of genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as assassinations of democratically-elected leaders cannot be accepted. Impunity for such crimes would constitute inter alia a major impediment towards national reconciliation, solutions to the problems of displacement and the prevention of new displacements.

7.   The Regional Conference expressed the hope that a broader United Nations Conference on peace, security and stability in the region, called for by the UN Security Council, would soon be held to examine the root causes of the problems in the region, in order to promote peace, security and sustainable development in the region.

8.   Accordingly, the Conference, having deliberated on all major aspects and causes of the problem, demonstrated concerted and practical action by adopting the present PLAN OF ACTION, which focuses on voluntary repatriation as the most preferred durable solution to the refugee problem in the Great Lakes Region. The PLAN OF ACTION underscores the important roles to be played by the countries of origin, the countries of asylum, the donor community, the United Nations System, the OAU, CEPGL, ICRC and the Non-governmental Organizations.


9.   The problem of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons should be addressed on a strictly humanitarian and non-political basis. In this context, all directly affected States should be guided by the principle of solidarity with the individuals in the search for human solutions to their problems.

10. The institution of asylum for refugees, as enshrined in the relevant international and regional refugee instruments must be upheld. Pending their voluntary repatriation, or pending the identification of other appropriate solutions, refugees should continue to benefit from international protection and basic humanitarian assistance.

11. However, individuals against whom there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, serious non-political crimes prior to fleeing into the country of refuge, or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations or of the OAU, should be excluded from international refugee protection and assistance, in accordance with the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention. The implementation of any such exclusion in the individual case should not, however, directly or indirectly, endanger the safety or well being of bona fide refugees, of humanitarian personnel or of local communities. If it is determined that certain individuals do not deserve international refugee protection, in which case the principle of non-refoulement does not apply, such persons may be subjected to extradition procedures, under conditions of due process of law. It is recalled in this context that, in accordance with the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, persons guilty of instigating, preparing or committing acts of genocide must be punished, either in the country where such acts were committed, or by an International Tribunal.

12. The countries of asylum and of origin, and the international community should mobilize all possible efforts to assist, wherever possible, with the repatriation and reintegration of Burundese and Rwandese refugees wishing to return at the present stage. In addition to voluntary repatriation, other durable solutions may be considered including naturalization and settlement in countries of asylum. Efforts to facilitate the voluntary return home of internally displaced persons in Burundi and Rwanda should continue and, if possible, be intensified.

13. In order to avoid instability and so as not to endanger the process of national reconciliation and confidence building, repatriation movements to the extent possible, should take place in an organized manner, and should avoid areas which are not yet stable. The future pace and timing of return movements should reflect the experiences gained in the first phases of repatriation, and should take into account further developments in refugee camps as well as in Burundi and Rwanda, or parts thereof.

14. In accordance with international law and practice, all stages of repatriation should be governed by the following principles which may have corresponding relevance with respect to the return of internally displaced persons to their home areas:

(a)  the right to depart safely from the country of asylum and to return to the country of origin;

(b)  non-discrimination, implying equal treatment and a balanced approach with regard to all individuals and groups wishing to return;

(c)  voluntariness based on informed consent, through the strict observance of the principle of non-refoulement, and access to objective information on conditions in the country of origin;

(d)  return in conditions of safety and dignity, implying physical safety, during and upon return to home areas and treatment in accordance with basic humanitarian and human rights standards; with full access to and by UNHCR and other relevant bodies for the purpose of monitoring the well-being of the returnees; while not implying immunity from prosecution for crimes falling within the purview of the International Tribunal for Rwanda or of corresponding national legislation;

(e)  respect for private property, implying that the governments concerned must ensure the reinstallment of returning refugees and internally displaced persons in their homes and land, while finding alternative solutions when this is legally or otherwise impossible; in all cases, voluntary repatriation shall involve persons, their livestock and household properties.

15. A peaceful resolution of the problem of displacement in the Great Lakes Region, and in particular any strategy aimed at ensuring the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons, requires the commitment of the respective countries of origin and of asylum, and of the international community, to take a number of concrete measures. These measures follow hereafter.


16. Countries of origin have a fundamental role to play. In particular, they should create conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees and the return of displaced persons to their places of habitual residence in conditions of safety and dignity.


17. In view of the recurrent political tension, the Government of Burundi should pursue its initiatives aimed at promoting and strengthening national reconciliation, reconstruction and democracy, including the organization of a national debate as stipulated in the Convention of Government signed on 10 September 1994, and in which all the strata of the population should be invited to participate.

18. In order to promote full respect for human rights and an environment that would eliminate causes for future coerced displacement, the following action is recommended:

(a)  strengthening of the judicial system, with the assistance of the international community, to enhance its quality and effectiveness, especially in the first place in relation to sub-paragraphs (c), (d) and (f) of this paragraph;

(b)  provision by the Government of Burundi of adequate and appropriate means to set up a special disarmament unit, backed by the on-going political initiatives, to counter the proliferation of arms and disband the militia;

(c)  putting an end to acts committed with impunity which remain a fundamental and persistent threat to the restoration of law and order and security, and for that purpose, with the help of the international community, taking concrete measures to facilitate the speeding up of an international judicial enquiry as a prelude to the trial of those persons responsible for the assassination of the democratically elected President during the 21 October 1993 attempted coup d'etat and for the resultant massacres;

(d)  taking punitive measures against members of the Armed Forces found guilty of indiscriminate acts of reprisal or other violations of human rights, as well as measures to prevent the reoccurence of any such acts in the future;

(e)  disseminating, as widely as possible, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, as well as the minimum humanitarian behavioral norms prepared in Burundi with the assistance of the ICRC; continuing to acknowledge the specific role of the ICRC as a neutral and independent intermediary and to facilitate its activities.

(f)   collaborating closely with the various bodies of the United Nations, as well as the OAU military and civilian observers whose role should be reinforced;

(g)  enhancing the role of the OAU in Burundi;

(h)  strengthening the role of the United Nations in Burundi in conformity with the report by Ambassadors Simeon Ake (Cote d'Ivoire) and Martin Huslid (Norway) on the events of October 1993 in Burundi to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and carrying out a sizeable expansion of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi in close consultation with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to ensure a visible and effective presence of neutral and competent observers to help restore confidence and to intensify its advisory services in the field of human rights.

19. The Conference called on all citizens, the media and the political leaders in Burundi to show moderation in order to avoid a new outbreak of violence.

20. In addition, to reassure refugees and internally displaced persons, the Government should:

(a)  conclude and implement Tripartite Voluntary Repatriation Agreements with the UNHCR and the asylum countries;

(b)  implement urgently the provisions of the Convention of Government of 1994 concerning returnees and internally displaced persons;

(c)  adopt concrete measures to ensure security for all displaced persons and returnees, as well as for the entire population living on the hills, including the establishment of Open Relief Centres or other mechanisms of assistance and protection;

(d)  grant full access to UNHCR and OAU and any other relevant international observers for the purpose of returnee monitoring;

(e)  publicly reassure refugees and internally displaced persons regarding the right to restoration of their private property, while adopting concrete measures to clarify the legal status of property left behind by refugees, including those who fled prior to October 1993, notably in 1972;

(f)   show respect for the private property of returnees and displaced persons;

(g)  organize confidence building visits to refugee camps and facilitate similar visits by potential returnees to their home areas.

21. In the strict and urgent implementation by all the parties concerned, of the provisions of the Convention of Government signed in September 1994, the Government of Burundi should pursue the initiatives aimed at strengthening national reconciliation and security.


22. The Conference noted with satisfaction the Rwanda Government's efforts at establishing a broad-based Government of National Unity, a broad-based National Assembly, a National Army and the re-establishment of the civil administration in Rwanda in the spirit of the Arusha Accord. The Conference is convinced that these measures and other initiatives aimed at strengthening national reconciliation and security will encourage the voluntary return of refugees and the reintegration of returnees and internally displaced persons[18]. It also called for the further strengthening of the civil administration. The Conference therefore urged and encouraged the Government of Rwanda to continue with its programmes in the following areas:

(a)  pursuing full cooperation with the deployment of Human Rights Monitors, UNAMIR and UNHCR, other UN organizations and NGOs, in areas of return, and the continuation of the acknowledgment of the specific role of the ICRC as a neutral and independent intermediary and support to its activities;

(b)  terminating the impunity of persons guilty of acts of genocide and of other serious violations of humanitarian and human rights law by cooperating closely with the International Tribunal for Rwanda or through national prosecution in accordance with due process of law. The Government of Rwanda is encouraged to pursue its efforts to establish an independent and effective judicial system as well as legal institutions, particularly the Supreme Council of Magistrates for the restoration of justice, and to reinforce public order. In the meantime, the Government is encouraged to continue applying temporary measures to secure the transparency and fairness of arrest procedures;

(c)  the pursuance of appropriate measures against soldiers and civilians who take the law into their own hands and the fostering of confidence among all segments of the population, be they civilians or military. Emphasis should also be placed on the need to widely disseminate the Rules and Principles of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of which duly contribute to a culture of peace and tolerance;

(d)  ensuring respect for the property rights of refugees and internally displaced persons by:

i)    continuing to apply concrete measures to adjudicate property disputes in a fair and expeditious manner;

ii)   enacting legislation to regulate the strictly temporary and provisional nature of any house occupation on an emergency basis, to be authorized and recorded by designated officials;

(e)  rapid and massive rehabilitation, reconstruction and development assistance to enable the country to return to normalcy and to absorb the returnees;

(f)   disseminating factual information through the mass media to counter propaganda in the camps so that the refugees are given accurate information to make informed choices on repatriation;

(g)  strengthening of transit points to facilitate orderly repatriation and the reintegration of returnees;

(h)  implementing repatriation arrangements in accordance with the Tripartite Agreements between the countries of origin, the countries of asylum and UNHCR.

23. More specifically, to reassure refugees and internally displaced persons, the Rwandese authorities are advised to:

(a)  conclude and implement Tripartite Voluntary Repatriation Agreements with other asylum countries and UNHCR, similar to those already signed with Burundi and Zaire;

(b)  continue to disseminate solemn declarations, by all relevant and competent authorities welcoming back the refugees and internally displaced persons in safety and dignity, and (re)emphasizing that any occupation of their land or homes will be terminated after their return;

(c)  continue taking concrete steps to delineate and develop, as soon as possible, areas identified for the settlement of refugees who left more than ten years ago, in conformity with the principles of the Arusha Protocol of 1993, and for the settlement of other refugees who cannot be reinstated in their properties;

(d)  continue its policy of cooperating fully within the framework of a coordinated humanitarian response and building upon the work of the "Integrated Operations Centre", with UN agencies and NGOs to facilitate the return home of internally displaced persons, which return should take place on a voluntary basis;

(e)  continue their visits to refugee camps in the countries of asylum and to make statements on national reconciliation likely to restore confidence in the refugee camps and facilitate similar visits by potential returnees to their home areas;

(f)   continue its policy of national reconciliation, thus contributing to the voluntary repatriation of refugees and to the reconstruction of the Rwandan Nation.

24. The Conference noted that there were unregistered Rwandese refugees especially in Kenya and Uganda who may need to be identified and assisted to repatriate.


25. The Conference reaffirmed the humanitarian character of granting asylum to refugees. In this regard, the countries hosting refugees from the Great Lakes Region were encouraged to continue granting asylum and to assist refugees in line with the 1951 United Nations Convention and its 1967 Protocol, both relating to the status of refugees, as well as the 1969 OAU Convention relating to the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the 1981 OAU Charter on Human and People's Rights. Attention was also drawn to the fact that the granting of asylum should not be seen as an unfriendly or hostile act, but rather should be seen as a responsibility and an obligation under international law. The Conference commended all the countries of the Sub-Region which, for many years, have continued to grant asylum to successive groups of refugees, in spite of the severe strains this has imposed on their national resources and on their natural environment. It also commended all relevant international organizations and NGOs, for their meritorious work in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons.

26. The Conference, however, requested the countries of asylum in the Great Lakes Region, in close collaboration with UNHCR and with the help of the international community, to ensure that the following measures are taken:

(a)  restoring public order in the refugee camps and full respect for individual freedoms, in order to ensure the following:

i)    the unimpeded and fair distribution of humanitarian assistance, especially to vulnerable refugees, including women, children and the elderly;

ii)   the safety of humanitarian personnel and the protection of storage points and facilities;

iii)   the security of all refugees including those wishing to be repatriated through the establishment of security staging areas and corridors to the border in accordance with the decisions of the Nairobi Summit of 7 January 1995;

iv)  in the case of Zaire, the earliest possible implementation of arrangements agreed upon with UNHCR on 27 January 1995, and full cooperation with the planned international technical and monitoring support;

(b)  reconstituting the membership of refugee committees, where these have been an obstacle to the repatriation efforts, and ensuring the designation of new representatives including a reasonable number of women;

(c)  ensuring respect of the civilian, humanitarian and non-political character of asylum in general and of refugee camps and settlements in particular, and to this end:

i)    take measures to prevent refugees or other persons living in or outside refugee camps from engaging in any subversive activities against any Member State of the OAU, in particular by use of arms, through the press, or by radio; and

ii)   prohibit radio stations or other forms of media inciting ethnic hatred.

(d)  ensuring the safety of refugees in camps and settlements against armed attacks;

(e)  whenever possible, relocating refugee camps away from the border, in conformity with the 1969 OAU Convention, taking also into consideration environmental hazardous areas; disarming armed individuals, and separating as agreed at the Nairobi Regional Summit of 7 January 1995, the intimidators in refugee camps as well as those individuals against whom there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious non-political crimes or acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN and OAU;

(f)   concluding Tripartite Voluntary Repatriation Agreements with Burundi and Rwanda, where necessary;

(g)  intensifying efforts to address the issue of reunification of unaccompanied minors in conformity with the relevant international instruments.


27. The Conference appreciated that there were humanitarian programmes financed and undertaken by various donor countries, United Nations Agencies, in particular UNHCR, Inter-governmental Organizations, the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and Non-governmental Organizations for the benefit of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes Region. However, because of the magnitude of the problem, the demands were continuous and more needs were bound to arise as the situation continued to persist and deteriorate. Additional material resources are therefore required to provide urgent relief assistance to the refugees and displaced persons whose very survival remains a major concern. This assistance is considered to be temporary in nature, in anticipation of the early repatriation of refugees.

28. In addition to food aid, donors should redouble their response to other basic needs such as in the fields of health, education, water, sanitation and logistical support, as well as in the wider areas of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reforestation which merit adequate attention and support by the donor community. In this respect, donors should ensure proper coordination with the national authorities concerned, taking into account national procedures and regulations.

29. The Conference also called on the international community to continue, and in particular the UN system, to reinforce coordinated and integrated responses to strengthen appropriate links and complementarity among the various programmes adopted to solve the plight of refugees, and to enhance the pursuit of economic rehabilitation and reconstruction in the countries affected.

30. The international community is expected to:

(a)  provide support to and encourage initiatives in Burundi and Rwanda aimed at national reconciliation and at promoting conditions conducive to the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons;

(b)  provide adequate support to Tanzania to enhance security measures already taken in the refugee camps, and regarding Zaire, to the early implementation of the arrangements agreed upon between Zaire and UNHCR, as contained in the agreement of 7 January 1995, by responding positively to the request as recently formulated by UNHCR for such support;

(c)  cooperate with and support the International Tribunal for Rwanda, thus enabling it to function effectively and to start prosecuting at the earliest possible date; support the efforts of the Government of Rwanda to establish an independent and effective judicial system;

(d)  continue to support human rights monitoring operations in Rwanda as part of the action undertaken by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and support the establishment of a similar operation in Burundi;

(e)  support initiatives for an expanded role of the OAU civil and military observers in Burundi;

(f)   assist the governments of the countries of origin to organize confidence building visits to refugee camps with the cooperation of the asylum countries and facilitate similar visits by potential returnees to their home areas;

(g)  support and encourage initiatives taken by the Economic Community of the Great Lakes States (Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire) aimed at strengthening the climate of peace at the common borders and in the refugee camps, by controlling the movement of instruments of war and by preventing subversion as well as incursions by uncontrolled elements on either side of the common borders;

(h)  provide support for initiatives which will broaden the participation of civil society and local NGOs in the rehabilitation and reconciliation processes in the region.

31. The Conference recognized that the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons was a global responsibility and emphasized the need for equitable burden-sharing taking into consideration that the asylum countries and the countries of origin were among the least developed countries. The international community was therefore urged to assist asylum countries and countries of origin through the adoption of the following concrete measures aimed' at alleviating and redressing the negative impact on the local communities directly caused by the presence of refugees and displaced persons:

(a)  arresting and reversing environmental degradation;

(b)  rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure including schools, roads, water sources, health facilities etc.;

(c)  encouraging the restoration of normalcy through provision of assistance to destabilized local communities;

(d)  assistance to host countries in the maintenance of law and order in and around refugee camps;

(e)  assistance to host countries in refugee identification exercise, where this will be necessary.

32. The Conference acknowledged the importance of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in addressing crises in the Continent. Therefore, it requested the OAU to enhance its presence in the region and to continue to play an active role in fostering the reconciliation process in Burundi and Rwanda in tandem with the international community.

33. To this end, it has been decided to request UNDP to hold, under its auspices, a Round Table of donors on the countries of the region, where there are zones which are seriously affected by damage resulting from the presence of refugees and displaced persons, in order to coordinate the actions to be undertaken in the framework of an integrated approach.


34. The situation of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons continues to pose unprecedented challenges to the countries of asylum, to Burundi and Rwanda, and to the international community at large. The Conference recognized fully the major difficulties involved in addressing the situation, and in resolving the problem of massive displacement. All concerned must therefore give proof of their determination to implement the various components of this PLAN OF ACTION.

35. As a framework for reviewing progress in the implementation of the present PLAN OF ACTION, a Follow-up Committee is hereby established. It will meet at regular intervals and not later than June 1995 for its first meeting. The Preparatory Committee shall be transformed into the Follow-up Committee. Its membership shall also include a representative(s) of the OAU Commission of Twenty on Refugees.

36. Stressing the urgency of the security and humanitarian situations in the Great Lakes region, the Conference strongly urged that its decisions be implemented without delay. The Conference requested the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to submit reports to the next sessions of the OAU Council of Ministers and the United Nations General Assembly respectively, citing progress towards accomplishing the benchmarks established by the Conference as well as for the purpose of soliciting funding for the effective implementation of the PLAN OF ACTION.

37.       The Conference expresses its gratitude to the Government of Burundi for the hospitality offered to all delegations, and to the Secretary-General of the OAU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for their prime role in organizing this Conference.



Political and ethnic massacres that took place in Burundi following the coup d'Etat attempt which killed President Melchior Ndadaye, many of his coworkers and the tragedy undergone in Rwanda as of April 1994 focalized the world attention on this part of Africa. Millions of refugees which are encountered therein worry more than one person at the regional as well as African and international level. Burundi and Rwanda are, as it appears from the international and many local and regional officials' point of view one of the real tension centers which can, at any time, compromise peace and security in the whole region

It is of an utmost importance that the sword on top of the region be quickly controlled in order for both countries, Rwanda and Burundi which are involved in a sporadic crisis for almost thirty years to come back on the rails of security, peace and development.

On the same run, the solution to the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced or dispersed persons is of no doubt urgent. Not only do leaders of the two countries have the duty to do their best to allow a quick return of all the populations to their homeland and/or their hills, but also countries of the entire region most of which undergo the outcome of this phenomenon and the international community must give them their assistance to take up the bet of bringing back peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes region. This aspect caused the Government of Burundi to call for a Regional Conference on assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region.

In the present document, the Government of Burundi broadly points out the different aspects of the conference whose objective aims at stabilizing the whole region in order to allow it to have a better organization for an integrated economic development.


By its resolution 48/1-18 of December 20, 1994, adopted without vote by the UN General Assembly, the United Nations calls for a series of measures to give some assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa. The resolution came to complete a similar one adopted by the Council of Ministers of the organization of African Unity (OAU) during the 58th Session held from June 21 to June 26 1993 in Cairo. (CM/RES. 1448 (LVIII)).

The above-mentioned UN General Assembly Resolution was adopted when Burundi was undergoing a serious crisis, following the assassination of His Excellency President Melchior NDADAYE and the inter-ethnic massacres which followed the dramatic events. Rwanda was on its part undergoing its fourth year of war. The 48/118 Resolution assesses specific needs of refugees, returnees and displaced persons of East and Central Africa and particularly points out cases of the following countries: Djibouti, Erythrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Somalia and Sudan

As to Rwanda and Burundi, one realizes that since 1959, these two countries have become big "producers" of refugees in Africa and with a frightening rhythm. Hence, even before the start of the war in Rwanda (October 1990), the country had hundred of thousands of refugees in the neighboring countries: Burundi, Uganda, Zaire and Tanzania. Different movements of Rwandese refugees in the region go back from early 1960 to 1973. In Burundi, the tragic events underwent in April-May 1972 caused a massive move of more than 300,000 Burundians who found asylum in the neighboring countries: Tanzania, Zaire and Rwanda.

The recent evolution of the political and social situation in Burundi and Rwanda has made public a new phenomenon which menaces peace and security in the Great Lakes Region. It is the massive and uncontrollable movements of populations which create harder situations in the host countries (Mainly Tanzania, Zaire, Kenya, Uganda)

Following the assassination of President Melchior NDADAYE, on October 21 1993, Burundi encountered the biggest massive exodus of refugees in its history. Almost a million Burundians looked for refuge in Rwanda, Tanzania and in Zaire whereas almost another million found themselves displaced or dispersed in the country interior fleeing from death raging on hills.

Because of the restarting of war in Rwanda after the accident of the President jet on April 6 1994, many Burundian refugees in Rwanda came back home, came back to their hills or placed in waiting in returnees' centers. Equally was noticed the return to their homeland refugees who went to Tanzania when unfortunately, on the Zaire side, the influx became bigger even.

In Rwanda, October 1990 war caused massive movements of the population in the country's inland. Before the restarting of the war in April 1994, the country numbered around a million of internally displaced persons.

The worsening of the situation in Rwanda following the death of President HABYARIMANA pushed a good number of the internally displaced persons and millions of other Rwandese to quit their country and look for refuge in neighboring countries: Burundi, Tanzania and Zaire.


This is what caused the Government of Burundi since almost by the beginning of 1994 to-launch the idea of a "Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region"

In that way we come to the conclusion that, initially the concern was to bring assistance to all the categories of populations. Today, the ambition must be extended and aims at furthering the return, reingration and reinstallation of these populations. This is a short-term objective. As a middle course objective, it is equally necessary that strategies and means be set up to stop for ever the refugee phenomenon and favor development in the region.

From then on it is clear that these objectives can be achieved in organizing the conference in three steps whose relationships call for no doubt.

The first step would consist of organizing a conference on the return, reinsertion and reinstallation of refugees, displaced or dispersed in their respective homelands or on their hills and in their residential areas.

The second step would aim at assessing and setting up the most appropriate strategies and means to reinforce security and stability in the region.

The third one would aim at looking for ways and means for a more serious and more functional integration of economies of the countries of the region which benefit from assets to reach such ambition.



II.1.1.1   REFUGEES.

The concept refers to persons who for the last thirty-five years were obliged to leave their homeland forced by the dramatic turn of political events occurring in their country.

Today those refugees are notably settled in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire and basically originate from Burundi and Rwanda.

The conclusion that one draws is that all these populations have been victims of "ethnic and political conflicts" which have been undergone in those countries since 1959 to present.


The concept refers to persons who, in the inland of their countries were forced to leave their hills or their residential areas to find refuge in a different place (location) where they thought they would meet more security.

This situation equally happened during "political and ethnic conflicts" which recently hit the region and in particular Rwanda and Burundi.

Generally speaking, those populations are grouped in "camps for displaced persons".

In Rwanda, the October 1990 war caused massive movements of the populations within the borders of the country. The situation was basically caused by the RPF big attack in February 1992 and following the restarting of war in April 1994.

Today, there are many Rwandese populations grouped in camps notably in the south-western part of the country.

In Burundi, camps of displaced were made up following the assassination of President Melchior NDADAYE. They are found almost everywhere in the country. They give shelters to around 600, 000 persons.

In Burundi as well as in Rwanda, these populations live basically thanks to humanitarian assistance.


The concept refers to a category which is similar to the preceding group with the only difference that we have here former refugees who returned to their homelands but have not yet gone back to their residences and who pass in transit via "refugees camps".

They are particularly found in the north of Burundi. Most of them are former refugees (in Rwanda) who came back very rapidly because of, the turn of events in Rwanda since April 6, 1994. The same question of returnees is raised in Rwanda at the same level.


The concept refers to populations which have been distabilized in the course of their life on hills and took refuge at the neighboring hills, communes or provinces.

The difference with displaced persons lies on the one hand on that they are not grouped in camps and that the assistance they benefit from is more based on family solidarity (in its broader meaning) . It is also possible to them to have food supply from their fields.


As it clearly appears in the conference title, objectives are twofold:

-     To favor the return of refugees, returnees, displaced and dispersed persons to their countries, to their hills or to any other secure place.

-     To mobilize indispensable resources in order to allow a correct and fair reintegration of these populations in their social and economic life.

-     To examine the root-causes of the massive movements of populations.

-     To elaborate a plan of action and a concerted program of assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons of the Great Lakes Region.

-     To elaborate outlines of solutions to stop cyclical violence of ethnic origin which are the cause of the unfortunate situation that the region is undergoing.



This is the main objective of the conference.

A.        The return of refugees to their homelands lies on four main concerns.

a)         Humanitarian concern.

Refugee populations from the Great Lakes Region have been the most obvious sign of one of the most serious humanitarian crises that Africa has ever known. Dozen of thousands of death encountered in refugee camps, and displaced in the countries of the region left in the opinion the image of a world falling apart.

If today we can say that the crisis is somewhat under control, we unfortunately cannot affirm that it is definitely overcome, in as much as the situation in camps and in the sub-region in general is far from being stabilized. To encourage the movement of return of these populations in their countries of origin would mean to prevent new catastrophes.

b)         Economic concern.

The big exodus of populations under political crisis conditions stands as serious handicap in the economic life of their countries of, origin.

It comes to our attention that since the distabilization of the region that agricultural activities are equally distabilized.

Harvesting is not done appropriately and the cultural year does not start at the right time because refugees who, are for the biggest part farmers are not available for the exploitation of their fields.

For Burundi, we also notice a disorganization of social and economic sector (Trade, Transport, Education) in connection with the departure of former Rwandese refugees to their homeland.

c)         Environmental concern.

The large movements of populations caused lots of imbalances in the whole environment of the region. Apart from immense sites managed rapidly, afforestation, waters and other environment elements have been thrown off-balance.

For Burundi for instance, the overwhelming situation is characterized by the particular fact of having 300,000 Rwandese refugees but also 600,000 Burundian disaster victims grouped on sites.

The impact of the situation on the environment causes much worry. A lot of afforestation have been destroyed for the installation of refugees/displaced persons whereas others are overexploited, not to name those which have been destroyed by fire. The surface of artificial afforestation destroyed or overexploited since May 1994 is estimated to 27,385 ha.

One of the worrying consequences is a possibility for the establishment of a hydrologic imbalance in some regions which would cause the drying up of some drinkable water springs, not to mention the risks of pollution of the same springs due to the concentration of populations on some sites.

It is therefore urgent to rapidly proceed to the restoration of vegetable cover and also think about the rehabilitation of sites presently occupied by refugees/displaced persons once they are reintegrated to their properties.

d)         Security concern.

This worry is based on a truth noticed since the emergence of the refugee phenomenon in the Region. It is true in fact that a refugee who faces a desperate perspective of returning home can grow into a situation of handicap for peace and security not only for his country of origin but also his country of asylum. Many examples exist both for Rwanda and Burundi.

The most worrying fact today, millions 'of Rwandese refugees who are settled either on Burundi territory or not far from its borders embody a particular aspect menacing peace and security in Burundi: they have a serious military force.

Many obvious signs noticed by UN and NGO's observers, seem to indicate clearly that a new explosion of violence is more than probable if no action is undertaken to solve the problem of refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes Region. The outburst of fights in Rwanda and its extension to Burundi, would plunge the Central African countries in a new tragedy with incomparable extent and unpredictable consequences.

The Governments of the region, with the support of the International Community must make a special and concerted effort, within useful delays to by prevention attack the root-causes of the problem.

On the other end, as the "ethnic" criterion is often present in this crisis, there is a serious risk to have lots of interconnections between some elements of Burundian and Rwandese refugees who may put in jeopardy security in both countries not to point out the social and economical load that they lay on neighboring countries.

B.         What action must be taken to favor this return?

Some minimal conditions must be met.

a)         Insure physical security of refugees

This question is twofold: security in refugee camps and security in the country inland.

Security in refugee camps.

Our wish is to see States discuss the question of the establishment and internal organization of refugee camps. They would have to analyze the problem of disarming armed gangs, former Rwandese soldiers and all other illegal organizations of dissidents like

"Forces for the Defence of Democracy" which are taking roots in Burundi and abroad. In discussing that issue, it would be advisable for the States may be to deepen some social problems which impinge on security, such as the education of refugee children in a country having a different educational system, the reintegration and the reinstallation in avoiding to create ethnic ghettos, in order not to transfer sociological problems from one country to the other, the employment of refugees and all other social and political consequences in connection with the departure or the arrival of refugees.

Security in the inland of countries

It depends on the political and administrative means that the Government of countries of "origin" of refugees must avail notably their capability to control their population and their territory, more clearly their capacity to control internal insecurity problem.

b)         To guarantee refugees for the Possibilities of recovering their belongings notably their land and other real estates or foresee a Policy of substitution or compensation.

Within the framework of reintegration and repatriation, the question of land must be given special consideration by political analysts. It would be to determine the types of land taken by the refugee family, the one legally acquired by a third party, or the ones returned as state properties.

Such evaluation would assist in deciding on the question of prescription, by giving clarification on the duration after which the claim for reintegrating one's former lands would be accepted: The evaluation should be global to comprise movable property, real estate, capitals and banking assets, etc...

The question of land have to be examined as an urgent point resulting from recent fights, movements of populations and therefore of abandoned by constraint by fleeing owners.

The question of return and reintegration of refugees stands as a "time bomb" whose power to revive "ethnic" conflicts increases with time. That is why the evaluation of possible solutions must take into account a major concern: to make of the land guarrel a factor of return of civilian peace and not to initiate any action which would revive "ethnic" tensions.

Furthermore, the International community might be contacted f or participation in the constitution of a "compensation fund" which might be set up to meet different claims of various crises that the country has undergone.

c)         Guarantee to the populations the setting up of reliable political, administrative, judicial and security institutions and organs.

For the case of Burundi, lots of discussions have been taking place on the need for political openness, the setting up of reliable political, administrative, judicial and security organs.

Three partners have to be distinguished in this operation:

*          Countries having refugees out of their territories or displaced persons in their inland.

This is the case of Rwanda and Burundi which, for the last thirty years have appeared to be the two major tension centers in the region and therefore the two main "countries of origin" of refugees.

The governments of both countries must set up favorable policies for the return of refugees, displaced and returnees to their countries and/or hills or any other secure place.

*          Countries having refugees on their territories.

This is the case of Burundi, Zaire and Tanzania regarding Rwandese refugees, and of Zaire, Tanzania and Rwanda as for Burundian refugees.

Governments of concerned countries must be contacted to offer means to the refugee governments in order to establish contacts and dialogues aiming at the return movement.

They are invited to respect international agreements and agreements signed on refugees within CEPGL member countries.

*          The international community.

The latter has to be taken into consideration on bilateral, multilateral relations or at the level of humanitarian non government organizations.

Their role will be to guarantee humanitarian support of-the action as well as to contribute to its funding and later to play the role of observer. This step of the conference appears to be of an utmost importance.


This objective can only be achieved basically with internal efforts of states, the latter must mobilized all possible means necessary to allow such return.

Those means are connected to the following means:

-           Security of the populations on the hills or in their residential areas;

-           possibilities of a quick recovery of their land or way of having access to others which can be rapidly managed;

-           to put the population to work to prevent them from various politician solicitations which do not advocate for the safekeeping of peace and the tranquility of citizens.

That is why, returnees and displaced persons have to continue exploiting their properties or other lands put at their disposal in places where they cannot reintegrate their properties immediately.

Create contexts of exchange between returnees-displaced persons and populations who remained on their hills or residential areas in order to install favorable conditions for the return of returnees and displaced in their milieu of origin.

-           Quick possibilities of grant of housing where accommodations have been destroyed.

The international community is invited here to support actions undertaken by government officials of concerned countries.


The action undertaken here stands for an accompanying activity for the movement of return of refugees , displaced, dispersed persons or returnees to their countries or to their hills or/and residential areas.

Countries which host such populations should elaborate global plans indicating necessary means to put into place to favor a quick and permanent reintegration and reinstallation.

For the case of Burundian returnees in particular, action will be undertaken to:

-           financially reinforce the repatriation commission in order to allow it to face social problems of categories of returnees

-           recuperate social contributions of returnees who used to work in their former country of asylum.

-           take into account work experience of returnees, mainly as regarding the recruiting grade when being employed by the government.

-           allow returnees to benefit as comfortably as possible from their belongings left in their former country of asylum.

The conference should give way to examine and evaluate the cost estimate of needs in welcome infrastructures (schools, health centers... ) and offer to donors the opportunity of announcing their contributions, taking into account real needs and investigated priorities in the refugees, returnees and displaced persons' host countries. A coherent chronology of actions to undertake, under the form of Action Plan must be set up.

The international community has most of time spoken of a Conference on the assistance to refugees, displaced and returnees. For the Government of Burundi, the word "assistance" is too static a term which gives way to a statu quo ante. That is why came the idea of giving it a more dynamic connotation and imagining coordinated actions, in order to allow concerned populations to return home and to be reintegrated in the most efficient way in the political, economic, social and cultural life.

In a word, the Conference must contribute to the definition of global strategies whose role would be to favor the return of refugees to their countries. It is important that those strategies discuss seriously security requirements for all categories of populations in the country as well as in the whole Region.

For the question of security, the Conference should request from concerned countries the setting up of reliable policies which would guarantee security and insure all populations.

Altogether, the Conference should request member states to vote a resolution committing them to create a security climate, a reconciliation and pacific cohabitation process likely to stimulate donors and insure reinstalled and reintegrated persons the peaceful pleasure of their recovered belongings.

It should at the same time contribute to decide a disarming strategy of civilian populations in the sub-region. The Conference should equip the countries of the Region with efficient equipments to better control the question of security, the stopping of armed gangs, border controls and the revival of regular consultation policies between countries...

It is important to point out here that such policies should respect the sovereignty of the countries which, through an internal dynamic, must solve current political and social problems. However, account taken of influences and interactions or ethnic interferences which cross the states' borders, those policies would rather be political and diplomatic rather than military.

Concerned states must reaffirm the dispositions of the international conventions regulating refugees, especially the ones contained in the OAU and CEPGL pertinent regulations. They would may be consider the possibility of stabilizing the situation by the naturalization of refugees, clarify the recovery procedures of citizenship for old generations of refugees and simplify and then harmonize the reintegration procedures. The naturalization process needs a serious attention of the conference so that it can evaluate all accompanying measures, because according to the Burundi experience, the measure did not necessarily bring stability in the region nor did it give to the beneficiaries the wished benefits.

It would probably be judicious to analyze the legal limitation of the refugee, his social, civil and political rights, etc...

The Conference will also discuss the real causes (historical, political, demographic and geographic) of the phenomenon of refugees/ returnees/ displaced persons. It should agree on means of applicable political and economic solutions at the national, regional and international level.

The Conference should refer to decisions of previous Conferences on the subject among which:

-           The Declaration of Dar Es Salaam on Rwandese Refugees, on Feb. 19, 1991.

-           The declaration of the regional Summit at the occasion of the signature of Arusha Agreements on the Rwandese Conflict especially in paragraphs 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, signed at Arusha Aug. 08, 1994.

-           Tripartite Agreements on the repatriation of refugees notably the one between Burundi, HCR and Tanzania as well as the other between Burundi, Rwanda and HCR and other agreements signed within CEPGL.

From this conference, partners in the region and those from the International Community must be sensitized on the engagements to take in favor of the return to peace and security in the geographic border of the Great Lakes countries to set up later a whole for vital economic strategies in the Region.

Therefore the economical and educational dimension in favor of the populations for peace and security should appear in the Conference.

In fact, when Summits of such importance speak of solutions, they concentrate on political and economic solutions of the question.

However, distabilizing uses an underhand teaching which entertains subversion: tracts, newspapers, misinformation of national and international media.

There should exist a teaching program for peace and the solution for refugee questions: radio program, TV programs, a strategy to correctly inform the populations.

Lastly, there should be developed social programs of cultural, health education, social and economic development activities to which populations would actively participate (youth and women activities, etc... )

-           On a short-term basis, urgent strategies and measures must be taken notably:

-           To determine means to put into practice in order to avoid the worsening of the crisis

-           To determine participants interested in assisting to that effect and coordinate their actions;

-           To contribute to the stabilization of the region at the national level, or of the regional synergy aiming at stopping all war penchant;

-           To develop all together a reasoning policy capable of bringing the countries of the region to a better development;

-           To contribute financially and materially for putting into practice the Program of actions.

Finally the step aiming at the return of refugees, their reintegration and their reinstallation is nothing but the initial point for the preparation of vast and ambitious action whose goal is the stabilization of the region and in that way favor its development perspectives.

That is why The United Nations Secretary General has already initiated actions in sending in the region Ambassador Robert DILLON to prepare an International Conference on peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region.

The Regional Conference on refugees, returnees and displaced persons should encourage the UN Secretary General to continue contacts for the holding of the coming International Conference.

The Government of Burundi proposes in the following days the holding of:

-           an International Conference on Security and stability in the Great lakes Region

In reality, this step should not be scheduled too far from the preceding. It should on the contrary be conceived as an accompanying action of the preceding.

It would aim at exploring political, diplomatic and humanitarian strategies to set up in order to prevent the situations of conflicts in the Great Lakes Region.

-     an International-Conference for the Development of the Great-Lakes Region.

It is this action of development which should be the final objective of all this procedure.

In fact, apart from the fact that the main objective of any political action in a country aims at the blooming of citizens, economic development must at its turn stand as a concern in so far as it plays the role of an efficient support for the other actions of opening up. However people realize that during this period of the end of the 20th century, the development of nations depends among others on the setting up of policies of regional integration.

Therefore, the Great Lakes Region which is rich with important natural resources, a lot of human, linguistic and cultural nearness, not to ignore well enough connected transport infrastructures, could constitute a very vital Economic Community if it boasts a guarantee of peace and security.

It needs experts in the repatriation problems and in the organization of international conferences of such a big dimension.

The availability of experts is wished during the second half of December 1994.

The technical preparatory Commission could embody, apart from Burundian, OAU, UN experts, experts of the Great Lakes Region whose knowledge of the region could be used positively for a deeper and more objective understanding of the existing problems.


Some clarification on the preparation of the participation in the conference.


a)   Finalization of basic documents by the preparatory Commission: End of December 1994



b)         Experts meeting: February 12-13-14, 1995



c)         Conference of Ministers: February 15-16, 1995

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

d)         February 17: Site visit on camps of displaced and refugees in Burundi, Zaire and Tanzania

e)         Heads of State Summit: February 18, 1995

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons


a)   Mainly concerned Great Lakes Countries

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

together with other interested African countries and Tunisia (OAU current Chairman)

b)         Non-African countries

(Editor's note: table not available for technical reasons

c)         International organizations:

-           United Nations Organization

-           Organization of African Unity

-           European Economic Community

-           High Commissioner for Refugees

-           UNICEF

-           UNDP


d)         Non Government organizations for instance those operating on site in RWANDA, BURUNDI, TANZANIA and in Zaire (in camps for refugees and displaced persons)

e)         The Press


The regional Conference on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Great Lakes Region appears to be after all a timely enterprise.

If today the International attention is focalized on the ticklish question of refugees with all the consequences that it causes on humanitarian and security ground, we should not forget that for its stabilization and development, the Great Lakes Region needs a serious international assistance to support on the one hand the setting up in the different countries and at the regional level, political and diplomatic strategies which guarantee peace through a democratic understanding and management of ruling power and on the other hand, to support national reconstruction policies for countries like Rwanda and Burundi for which cyclical violence caused a serious destruction of the social and economic organization. It is also important that refugee host countries benefit from the International Community for all the necessary support for them to rebuild their environment seriously damaged by the presence of refugees.

The conclusion therefore is that the Conference, mostly in its first phase, aims at mobilizing the countries of the region so that they can altogether initiate and undertake a concerted and bound up policy for the repatriation of refugees. Such a policy needs diplomatic, material and financial support from the International Community. The Conference also has as a goal to sensitize the International Community in order to mobilize essential means for the reconstruction of the Great lakes countries hit by the existing crisis which has lasted for thirty years. There is a need for a real "Marshall Plan" for the reconstruction of the Great Lakes Region.

Every country of the region namely Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zaire has seriously suffered from the above-mentioned crisis and each country elaborated a reconstruction plan. The different plans would be the source of inspiration for the decisions to be taken to put the Region back on the rails of peace, stability and development. Such a plan would of course be limited to the consequences of the phenomenon of refugees in the Region.

1995/BUJCONF.8: VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION OF RWANDESE REFUGEES (submitted by the Government of Rwanda)


The Refugee question in Rwanda is not a new phenomenon. Although there are Rwandese who left Rwanda as early as 1920s for economic reasons, political changes in Rwanda over the last three and a half decades have at various times created refugees. This started in 1959 and intermitently occured until 1994.

Before April 1994 (time of genocide) there were already over 1.5 million refugees who had been in exile for over 35 years mainly in neighbouring countries. After April 1994 the refugee question became even bigger. Approximately 2.00 million more people ran to neighbouring countries. over one million got internally displaced.


Every Rwandese has a right to return and settle in his or her motherland. Repatriation should be a voluntary and free act of every individual. Spontaneous repatriation of Rwandan refugees commenced at the start of 1994 few months after the signing of the Arusha agreement. With mounting tension in neighbouring countries the return of refugees gained pace. Also after halting the genocide and ending the war a number of refugees who had recently ran out of the country started coming back. over 600.000 refugees of the new case load have returned and over 600.000 of the old case, had also returned. (total about 1.2 million)

Problems associated with repatriation

1.   Harrassment and intimidation by the militia and the defeated the former Government forces to the extent of killing those trying to return and causing a lot of insecurity in the refugee camps.

2.   Lack of sufficient means to help the people to return (logistics, transport) and any other facilities to encourage them to return.

3.   Rumours and false propaganda that if refugees return they will not get their houses and property and that there is insecurity in the country.

Present difficulties faced by returnees in Rwanda

-     The country has just been out of war and genocide, many people were killed and a lot of infrastructure was destroyed. This causes a general lack of sufficient basic needs like food, water, tools, socio-economic infrastructure like schools, hospitals, etc..

-     Although land has been earmarked for settlement of especially the old case load in new areas there is lack of enough funds to speed up the implementation of government programmes on repatriation and settlement. Assistance to the settlement programmes need to be reinforced.

Objectives of the repatriation and settlement programmes

The general objective of the government is to effect quick and qualitative integration of the returning people that ensures stability and socio-economic progress as well as protect the environment.

Specifically the government will aim at:

a)   working with countries of asylum and UNHCR to help in effecting quick and safe repatriation of all remaining refugees in exile.

b)   providing immediate assistance to satisfy short term needs food, basic tools, water, medicine and seeds.

c)   Rehabilitating or setting up social infrastructure in the country.

d)   Initiating and promoting social economic actions aimed at importing productive capacity to the returnees.

e)   Settling especially the old case load in areas which were identified. There is a need to make these sites ready for settlement by setting up proper socio-economic infrastructure, because most of these areas have never been used for habitation before.

Efforts made by the government to ensure continuous return of refugees

Many commendable steps have been taken by government in its usual running of the affairs of the country which have brought about general stability and progress.

-           Halting and ending the war and genocide;

-           Establishing a broad based government and broad based national assembly;

-           Re-setting up the administration of the country;

-           Formation of a national army;

-           Starting rehabilitation and reconstruction and recovery programmes to bring the country to normalcy.

-           Strengthing programmes on national unity;

-           Supporting the International criminal tribunal for Rwanda and reinforcing the national judicial system to be able to try the perpetrators of genocide and other criminals;

-           Apprehending all soldiers and civilians who may engage in acts of revenge and to stick to all principles of the Rule of Law;

-           Participating in all high level meetings and summits on Rwandese refugees as the Nairobi Summit concluded in January 1995.

There are other steps that have been taken by the Government specifically to address the refugee problem:

-           There is a government ministry in charge of interalia repatriation and settlement of refugees, returnees and displaced people. This ministry was set up particularly at the end of the war and genocide in July 1994. This is because the new government recognises the huge problem of refugees and the need to resolve it;

-           The Government has also set up a joint Commission made up by the Government of Rwanda, the OAU and the UNHCR on repatriation of refugees;

-           The Government of Rwanda has already signed a tripartite agreement with Burundi and Zaire. It is also ready to sign similar agreements with other countries concerned;

-           High leveled government authorities have visited countries hosting refugees and some refugee camps have been also visited to discuss modalities of quick repatriation of refugees;

-           media campaigns have been done to give refugees better an and accurate information;

-           Refugees have been encouraged to come to their home communes and then go back to inform their friends in camps;

-           Transit centres have been established where returnees are received and assisted as they return home;

-           The Government together with UNHCR, WFP, IOM, other relief organisations have distributed relief and other logistical support to returnees and other needy people;

-           Already over 1.2 million refugees have returned (600,000 old cases and about 600.000 new cases). Almost all displaced,i.e over one million, have returned to their home communes (about 200,000 people are still in camps in the former french zone, but they are free to go home. This is an on going programme).

The Role of Countries of Asylum

The Government of Rwanda expresses gratitude to countries that have provided asylum to Rwandese refugees and commends the following:

1.   Granting of assylum shoud adhere to the UN Convention that denies criminals, perpetrators of genocide and armed people the status of Refugees;

2.   The countries of asylum should ensure that armed militias and army or any other people causing insecurity in the camps should be separated from the innocent refugees so that the refugees can make free choice to go home;

3.   They should do every thing possible to facilitate the easy return of the Rwandese refugees to Rwanda;

4.   Demand all refugees to fulfill their obligation and restrain from activities aimed at distabilizing the country of origin or activities causing insecurity.

The Role of the International community

The Government recognises the work already done by the international community in providing relief and other assistance to refugees.

-     The international community is urged to continue its support to the repatriation and settlement programmes by giving the necesary support (financial and otherwise);

-           To support the international tribunal and national efforts to set up the local judicial system so that those who committed genocide can be tried;

-           Support Government efforts on national unity.


The Governement of Rwanda believes the best solution to the Rwandese refugees is voluntary repatriation. All Rwandese have a right to their home land. The authorities will continue to do everthing possible to, ensure that all refugees return home.



1.   In order to strengthen the role of the OAU in Burundi, it is necessary, first and foremost, to take stock of activities the Continental Organization has been undertaking in the country over the past year. Once this is done, it would be possible to plan for the future. To begin with, there is need to give the background of OAU's involvement in Burundi, the objectives it has set for itself, the approach and the resources provided for the attainment of these objectives. This will make it possible to define with some degree of accuracy, areas where the OAU could strengthen its role in Burundi.


2.   The assassination on 21 October 1993 of the Head of State and high ranking officials of the Republic including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, as well as the resulting wave of massacres, plunged Burundi in a deep and multidimensional crisis. The attempt by the perpetrators of the attempted Coup d'Etat to put an end to the constitutional order established in the wake of free and democratic elections held in June 1993, culminating in the killing of the Head of State, among others, led to an institutional vacuum. The violent nature of the operation and the scope of inter-ethnic massacres resulted in a climate of' insecurity and real collective psychosis both in the Government and among the population. Furthermore, the October 1993 events had had in addition to the assassinations, massacres and destruction of properties, large-scale humanitarian consequences, culminating in ,a massive exodus of refugees and displaced persons. Lastly, these events have provoked what the Burundese have themselves termed as a serious breakdown of the social structure, in other words, a deep mistrust among all the strata of the Burundi society, mistrust among the population and within a Government and polarised population.

3.   Such was the general context and background of the presence of the Organization of African Unity in Burundi and on the basis of which the major guidelines of the OAU action would be envisaged and drawn up. The plan was obviously to meet the exigencies borne out the situation prevailing in the country, namely confidence building, restoration of peace and Security, resumption of the functions of state institutions, dealing with the question of disarmament and resettlment of refugees and displaced persons. These are elements that can constitute the basis for national reconciliation and unity by which it will be possible to envisage, with some degree of certainty, the reconstruction of the country. In short, OAU's presence in Burundi has a three-fold objective: political, security and socio-humanitarian.


4.   The Burundi crisis, occurred in the wake of the establishment in Cairo in June 1993 of a Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution Mechanism by the Heads of State and Government of the OAU. This mechanism is a clear testimony of their willingness to see OAU take the initiative in the Management of Conflicts in Africa. The decision taken on 7 December 1993 by this new institution through its Central Organ meeting at Summit level, to have OAU presence in Burundi at the request of the Government was part of that willingness and a clear proof of Africa's active solidarity with a devastated sister country. Similarly, it opened a new chapter in the establishment of a Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution system based, primarily, on African realities, favouring as much as possible African ways of resolving conflicts and-ensuring to a large extent, physical and extended presence of the OAU in the field; a system which in its operation relies on the supporting the entire international community; in short, a system which calls for the participation of each and everyone, around an African central mechanism. This shows the importance and relevance of this experience, the first of its kind, the objectives of which are clearly defined.


5.   OAU's activity in Burundi has been mainly two-fold: first the activity undertaken by the Secretary General of the OAU who initiated contacts with the various partners to the Burundi crisis, calling on them to exercise restraint and promote dialogue, as well as with the International Community requesting it to provide diplomatic, financial and material assistance. Second, OAU observer mission in Burundi (OMIB), put in place in December 1993 for an initial period of six months period comprising civilian and military components. Indeed, OAU's activities centered around OMIB. The objectives the organization set for itself can be seen through the mandate assigned to OMIB. This mandate, under the Agreement concluded between the Government of Burundi and OAU was as follows:

a)   To contribute to the restoration of confidence,

b)   To promote dialogue between the Government and the social, political, civilian and military components with a view to restoring a climate of confidence and conditions propitious for peace, security, stability and understanding in the country,

c)   To facilitate the national reconciliation process.

6.   The mandate formed part of an approach aimed at addressing the issue of refugees and displaced persons in order to ensure the deescalation of the crisis. This should be viewed within the context of a preventive action to stem the massive influx of refugees and displaced persons. Indeed, the resolution of this problem is possible only when there is peace, security and mutual trust.

7.   This mandate was implemented through a series of concrete actions undertaken by the two components of OMIB. At the level of the civilian component, close contacts have been initiated and various consultations held with a large spectrum of personalities, both political and military, as well as with prominent citizens within the civil society. This confidence building exercise was aimed, primarily, at securing the confidence of the various actors, thus paving the way for mediation. Indeed, since its inception, OMIB has participated actively in the various consultations and negotiations among the political actors. Thanks to the good relations it has established with all the political actors, the civil society and the army, OMIB was regularly consulted and its opinions and advice sought, thereby making it possible to defuse potentially explosive situations and prevent the escalation of the crisis.

8.   After a climate of confidence had been established, particularly with the army, the OMIB military commenced the observation task assigned to it. It should be pointed out, however, that the first OMIB military contigent arrived in Burundi at the beginning of February 1994 and that the protocol of Agreement on the practical modalities for the deployment of OMIB (military) was signed only on 15 June 1994, in other words, five months later. The deployment of the military component in the field had been made effective and the various teams became operational in July 1994.

9.   In the field, the 29 OMIB officers carried out a series of operations which formed part of the Observation's mission, a mission not limited to the mere monitoring of the situation but also covering a wider perspective, both security and humanitarian. It should be pointed out in this regard that within the military component, there are doctors who are largely involved in humanitarian activities.

10. In more concrete terms, after their deployment in the field, in Bujumbura and in the Provinces where there was total mistrust among the various social component and where bloody incidents had been regularly recorded, the military observers endeavored to:

-     reduce the general atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust by bringing the administrative and local military authorities into dialogue;

-     reactivate, at the provincial and district level, security committees and help in the establishment of such committees in districts where they did not exit;

-     participate in all field trips undertaken by the national and regional authorities as part of the campaign to promote peace. It should be pointed out in this regard that MIOB sometimes supervise the elections of district and provincial heads at the request of the local population;

-     organize, with the help of some donor countries, a seminar on security problems in the Northern provinces which are particularly affected by the presence of many Rwandese refugees.

11. The OMIB doctors have performed important tasks in an effective way which was particularly appreciated by the population despite the meager resources at their disposal. It is interesting to note that prior to the arrival of MIOB doctors, a section of the population was reluctant to go to health centres out of fear.

12. Recently, the military component of OMIB was requested by the High Command of the Burundi Army to help it put in place, confidence building measures that should be applied during the recruitment of the members of the Armed Forces, and to closely monitor the implementation of such measures.

13. Lastly, MIOB established sustained cooperation relations with humanitarian organizations working in Burundi. For instance, it recently initiated a series of meetings with the various officials of these organizations for the convening of meeting to coordinate their efforts and consolidate their mutual relations. An exemplary cooperation was established with the UNHCR which provided MIOB with a number of technical assistance which has helped to facilitate OMIB's operations. OMIB is also helping the orderly registration and voluntary repatriation of Rwandese refugees in Burundi.


14. OMIB's role, both civilian and military, has been highly appreciated by the population, the administrative and local military authorities; political partners, civil society as well as the Government which, on three occasions, requested for the renewal of its mandate and, more recently, for its strengthening with the 47 officers as previously agreed upon by the Government of Burundi and the OAU. It should be recalled that up to September 1994 the military component consisted 29 officers from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Tunisia. Contacts initiated by the OAU General Secretariat in order to accede to the request of the Government of Burundi led to the provision to OMIB of 10 officers from Guinea, 5 from Burkina Faso and one officer each from Mali and Niger. At the moment the military component is made up of 49 officers while the civilian team is composed of 8 members.

15. The OMIB officers were deployed in twelve of the fifteen provinces and in Bujumbura. Steps were however taken to ensure the regular presence of MIOB in the three other provinces.

16. The request made by the Government of Burundi to strengthen OMIB was based, first and foremost, on its recognition of the important role of OMIB operation. Commenting on OMIB activity in this country, the Burundi Minister of External Relations had, during the Sixty-first ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers held in Addis Ababa from 3 to 7 January 1995, expressed his appreciation for OMIB invaluable contribution to the negotiations and national reconciliation pointing out that, if OMIB had not come to Burundi, there would have been more massacres and hundred or even thousands of young Burundese would have died[19].

17. Beyond the satisfaction thus expressed, this statement by the Burundi Minister, underlines the importance and the need for OMIB continued presence in the country.

18. The need for OMIB's continued presence stems primarily from the fact it has done very well in its efforts to accomplish the mandate entrusted to it. OMIB helped in setting in motion the process of confidence building and the restoration of peace in Burundi, the major achievement of which was, undoubtedly, the signing of the Convention on Government. This process has yet to be completed. There is need to pursue it further and help, whenever possible, the political actors to overcome the many pitfalls ahead, especially as much remains to be done from the political, social, security and humanitarian view points.

19. On the political plane, the horizon is still cloudy, and many hurdles have yet to be overcome.Furthermore, there is still mistrust among the various partners. Lastly, there is need for an urgent national dialogue on the future of the country, the preparation and convening of which require OAU's assistance, as always indicated by the Burundi authorities.

20. on the security and socio-humanitarian plane, the situation remains extremely volatile despite the laudable efforts deployed. The growing wave of extremism with terrorism as its corollary constitutes, with the refugees and particularly displaced persons, a powerful element of instability and insecurity.

21. Against this background, there is need to strengthen the presence of OMIB and its role in Burundi.


22. A better way of ensuring the effectiveness of OAU's action in Burundi is to strengthen its presence and its role in the country. It can be done in consultation with the Government of Burundi. In addition to the numerous tasks ahead, the convening of the national debate, the cornerstone of the peace process, require careful preparation and OAU could lend its experience as it did in some Member States. Eminent politicians and legal experts could be involved in this exercise on behalf of the OAU. The possibility should also be envisaged where OAU observers could be invited to attend.

23. The present number of OMIB officers is obviously inadequate given the scope of the task to be accomplished and the area of the territory to be covered. Two or three officers per province is not enough. It would be advisable to increase this number to ensure a more effective presence throughout the national territory of Burundi. But this can only be done with the consent of the Government and participation of the political forces in the country.

24. An increase in human resources obviously requires increase in financial, logistical and other resources. In this respect, the OAU would continue to count on support of the international community which, through a number of donor countries, had demonstrated its solidarity with the Organization's action in Burundi. In this connection, the Council of Ministers meeting in its Sixty-first Ordinary Session specifically called on the OAU and the United Nations agencies to maintain their cooperation in order to promote peace, stability and security in Burundi.

25. The strengthening of OAU's role in Burundi is contingent upon the renewed confidence which the various political groups in Burundi have in the organization. This confidence, it should be acknowledged, was gained through a diplomacy guided by the need for a better understanding of the socio-political realities of Burundi and the respect for national traditions, sovereignty and dignity. It is only in this way that it will be possible to consolidate further the confidence enjoyed by the OAU in Burundi.

26. It is obvious that the many tasks to be accomplished had been clearly defined in consultation with the Government. There is therefore no need to proliferate them but rather to have a better grasp of them so as to ensure their effective implementation. The OAU Mission in Burundi currently has a personnel of very high calibre which, if provided with adequate resources and support, can accomplish its mandate with high degree of efficiency.

27. There is an urgent need for adequate coverage of OAU's activity in Burundi. Consciously or otherwise, there international media seem to ignore the reality of the presence and the significant role being played by OAU in Burundi. This has prompted the Burundi Minister of External Affairs to observe that OAU's contribution in Burundi has not been always recognized and appreciated. This is indeed an are which deserves special attention.

28. Lastly, there is need to think about the post-OMIB era for, all said and done, OMIB cannot remain in Burundi indefinitely.


29. The OAU has demonstrated its solidarity with a Member State-Burundi, particularly by establishing an observer Mission, entrusted first and foremost, with the task of helping to restore confidence, promote dialogue and negotiations with the aim of bringing about peace and national reconciliation. For more than one year now, the Mission has discharged its mandate to the satisfaction of each and everyone. However, the task to be accomplished is enormous for even though the peace and confidence building process has been set in motion with some degree of success, the situation remains fragile. Furthermore, this process which has just begun will be particularly a lengthy one and punctuated by a national debate, an exercise which a number of African countries have already carried outage importance of Oahu's presence in Burundi is therefore self evident. Increase in OMIB personnel and resources, a more active diplomacy supported by the entire international community, renewed confidence on the part of the various actors involved in the Burundi crisis vis-a-vis the OAU, a better education of the general public, both national and international on Oahu's role, are all areas which OAU should focus its attention on in order to strengthen its role and contribution in Burundi.

1995/BUJCONF.10: ROLE AND OBLIGATIONS OF RWANDA IN THE SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM OF RWANDESE REFUGEES, RETURNEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS (submitted by the Government of Rwanda - with contribution of UNREO on Part of Camp Populations - 'Displaced Persons')

I.          BACKGROUND

1.   For the last three and half decades, Rwanda has experienced intermittent civil conflicts that have resulted in large scale displacement and exile of its nationals. Prior to 1990 there were about one million persons that were in exile in countries neighbouring Rwanda, who had spent about 30 years in exile. Between the breakout of civil war in Rwanda in 1990 and the resumption of war in 1994, about one million persons had become internally displaced and were living in camps in Rwanda. The war and genocide in 1994 resulted in massive displacement of the national population to the extent that by the end of the war in July 1994, about two million people had gone to exile and almost everyone inside the country displaced. Since the government of national unity was established in July, the country has quickly returned to normalcy and people have resettled from both within and without the country. This paper sets to highlight the role of the Rwanda government as well as its obligations towards its nationals both inside and outside.


2.   The phenomenon of the Rwandese refugees has existed since 1959 when due to civil conflicts in 1959 and the subsequent years in the early 1960s about 300,000 persons went to exile mainly to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda nd Zaire. The leadership of the successive regimes which ruled after independence from the year 1962, largely resisted the return of those in exile. These regimes favoured the line of persuading countries of asylum to naturalize the Rwandese or even seek resettlement in a third country. The problem however persisted up to 1990 when the population in exile had increased to about one million. During the period of April to July 1994, when there was genocide and renewed fighting in Rwanda, over one million Rwandese had gone to exile by the time the war ended.

3.   The return of the refugees has been a main preoccupation of the government of national unity. Besides the efforts undertaken by the government with countries in the Region providing asylum to Rwandese, a lot has been done at home to ensure a safe return of those in exile and secure resettlement. Some of the measures are outlined below:

a)         Security

By the end of the war, the entire Rwandese society had become traumatized. The survivors of genocide and massacres perpetrated by the former regime were in severe shock and anguish. The government faced the task of calming the situation. The government has since the end of August established security everywhere in the country. Rwandese nationals, visitors from abroad, international agencies and NGOs can travel to any part of the country without obstruction or even prior clearance. Every part of the national territory is accessible to anyone. The national gendarmes are now deployed everywhere.

Kigali is calm since August and business is back to normal except for the severe damage to infrastructure. Night and day business go on in the capital with no obstruction. .

b) Administration

When the war ended, all the civil administration had broken down, the majority of the administrators in the former regime having joined in executing genocide. The government had a severe task to restore territorial administration. All the eleven prefectures of the country now have 'prefets'. These were appointed by the leadership after extensive consultation with the five political parties that are in government. The burgomasters in-charge of communes and counsellors in-charge of sectors are also operational in every part of Rwanda.

c)         Property Protection

When the war was raging in the country, almost all people fled from their properties. This especially was at the instigation of Interahamwe who ravaged the entire country destroying houses, rooting property and making spoil of whatever was valuable. By the end of the war almost all properties were abandoned. It therefore made these properties a target of occupation by people returning from hiding or exile, survivors of genocide and massacres and members of the international community especially NGO staff. The latter were able to do it under the connivance of local employees. Soon after the installation of the current government, a ministerial committee was set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister of interior and Commune Development to arbitrate in matters and ensure respect and protection of private and public properties. The Committee developed policies asserting private ownership of property and oversees its implementation. For rural areas the Committee executes its work through local administrators.

d) Reception of Returnees

Since July 1994, over one million Rwandese refugees have repatriated. About 700,000 of these are refugees that had been out of the country for about three decades. Since the return of most of the refugees has largely been spontaneous, most of those returning both in rural and urban areas during the early days of the government did locate themselves wherever they found empty spaces. The majority of those returning to the country however went into the government reserve areas as had been foreplanned during the Arusha peace negotiations. The areas are without physical or social infrastructure and it poses great challenge to the. government which lacks resources. The refugees who have been returning for the last four months, are received at the borders and assisted by the UN agencies to return those for those who recently left the country or to reoeption (transit) centres for those with no homes. The government has established ‘way-stations' where those in transit are received and are given relief and organized for return to their homes or potential settlement areas.

e)         Settlement Areas

The government has identified several settlement areas in various parts of the country where returnees are being settled. The government is working closely with UNHCR in planning the settlement of these areas. The areas are mainly government reserves that lack basic infrastructural services, the most critical being water, energy, transport and health facilities.

f)          Confidence-building Measures among Returnees

Given the nature of what has happened in Rwanda, both the government and the international community face an enormous task in restoring the confidence among all the Rwandese given that the entire society became traumatized. The society is constituted of people that watched neighbours kill neighbours, government leaders supervise extermination of their subjects and the security forces turning into killer squads. A number of measures have been taken by the government to give confidence to all the Rwandese and some specifically the returnees. A brief mention is made of some of these:

i)          Visits by the Government Leaders

Since the formation of the government of national unity, the Rwanda Head of State and high-ranking government officials in company of members of the heads of concerned international organizations have visited various areas of Rwanda. During these visits nationals address themselves and their problems to the leadership. Problems normally addressed range from property disputes, to security as well as government future policies. Besides visits inside the country, visits have also been made to outside countries including refugee camps where security permitted.

ii)         Media Broadcasts

On daily basis, the national radio runs messages inviting refugees and any other persons still away from their homes to come home. The radio messages explain security situation country-wide including messages by those that have recently returned especially from Zaire

iii)        Deployment of UN Troops

Rwanda government has allowed the expansion of the troops of the United Nations Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) up to 5,500. Currently UNAMIR has about 5,850 troops deployed all over the country. The troops fully cooperate with the government and have deployed all over the national territory. Any incidents affecting security are investigated and reported by UNAMIR to government and independently to concerned UN authorities.

iv)        Deployment of Human Rights Monitors

Rwanda government has authorized deployment of Human Rights Monitors to a number of over 300 monitors. The monitors monitor Human Rights issues over the entire country and have a heavy presence areas where people have recently returned.

v.)        Reception of Returnees

The government has put reception mechanisms to ensure that reception of returnees are received and escorted to their homes. 'Way-stations' staged by international community for transit purposes of returnees are given maximum security by the government.

vi)        Cooperation with international Community

The government has continued to receive support from the international community to facilitate returnees. Many NGOs and various UN agencies and international organizations have developed joint programmes with government to attend to problems of returnees and effect fast reintegration.


4.   The combination of genocide and war in 1994 resulted in the temporary displacement of several millions of Rwandese people. By mid-June 1994, as the RPF secured the whole of eastern Rwanda and consolidated its gains in other areas: most displaced persons, including those who had been displaced in previous years, began to return to their home areas. As the RPF advanced, the former regime's military forces and officials fled, taking with them many thousands of civilians by force. At the same time, France announced its intention to launch 'Operation Turquoise' And sent 2,500 troops to Rwanda to create a safe zone in southwest 'Rwanda. Many of the people fleeing from war established squatter camps in the zone under French Forces.

5.   By late August 1994, as the French Forces 'had totally withdrawn it was estimated that 750,000 people still remained in the camps, many others having returned to their home communes Fears on the part of the international community that the withdrawal of the French Forces would lead to a new mass exodus from the southwest didn't materialize.

6.   Since its formation in July 1994, the Government has repeatedly called upon the persons living in camps in former French protection zone to return to their home areas. Although initially, relief agencies focused on providing assistance in the camps, the emphasis has more recently switched from camps to home communes to encourage persons in camps to go home in an organized manner, and to create conditions which enable them to resume productivity. The government has been able to harness the support of the humanitarian community in Rwanda, for this effort, code-named 'Operation Retour'.

7.   By the middle of February 1995, it is estimated that the camp populations have been reduced to two hundred thousand people. Many thousands of these people have been assisted with transport home. others, living only a few kilometers from their homes, have chosen to walk back, some escorted by Government and UNAMIR forces.

8.   Mention should be made of the camps themselves and the reasons why people are urged to have camps and remain in camps, the longer they will have to depend on support for their survival. With regard to the camps themselves, there are large numbers of disruptive and criminal elements in the camps who continue to control camp populations through intimidation and misinformation about conditions in home communes. Many people who want to go home have been forced to leave the camps at night for fear of reprisals. Many others have been erroneously convinced that their lives would be in jeopardy if they return to home communes. In this respect, the Government has repeatedly stated that those who are innocent have nothing to fear and that those accused of crimes associated with genocide will get a fair trial.

9.   Although earlier initiatives had been launched to assist people to go back to home communes, the pace of return was slow. As a result, the Government determined that a new concerted effort was required on the part of its Ministries and the international community. The new government-led programme has a number of unique aspects. These have been based on lessons learned from earlier initiatives, as well as the need to ensure a fully collaborative effort in regard to the organized return and reintegration of the camp populations. The programme brings together Government ministries, UN Agencies, NGOs, UNAMIR and Human Rights monitors. underpinning it are the following guiding principles:

a)   The creation of a safe environment and provision of essential social services in areas of origin is of a paramount importance;

b)   guarantees of safe return. At the same time, the Government's right to pursue with due process of law those persons who have been accused of promulgating genocide was acknowledged;

c)   the full cooperation of all contributing organizations within the scope of their mandates.

10. Based on a two-tier structure, the Integrated Humanitarian Response (IHR) was established to facilitate this collaborative effort. Firstly, a Task Force comprising senior members of Government, UN agencies, UNAMIR, other multi-lateral bodies and participating NGOs, was established to determine policy and planning for displaced persons issues. Under the Task Force is the Integrated Operations Centre (IOC), which coordinates and facilitates the agreed policy and plans.

11. The functions of the IOC are to be a focal point for information concerninq the movement of the persons in camps and the activities of participants involved in settlement; to facilitate the combination or exchange of resources and to monitor the implementation of agreed operational plans, and in so doing to identify gaps.

12. Based on information from camp populations, twelve geographical areas of origin were identified as being priorities for the return of persons. To inspire confidence in populations reluctant to make the move home and to address the fundamental concerns of the recipient communities, support centres known as Open Relief Centres (ORCs), have been established in all twelve areas. As with the IOC, the concept behind the ORCs is that they are temporary government offices created for the specific purpose of facilitating the reintegration of displaced persons. The Bourgmestres manage the ORCs, assisted by UN Agencies and NGOs. In order to benefit both returning families and communities at large, efforts in home communes are focused on rebuilding or establishing health care, education, shelter, water and sanitation services. Seeds and tools, along with food, are also supplied at commune level.

13. It was recognized from past experiences that confidencebuilding amongst both the camp populations and host communities is crucial. As part of measures to instill confidence in camp populations and to prepare host communities for their return, a three pronged information campaign has been launched. Under this campaign, Government officials, including prefets and bourgmestres, visit camps and home communes to explain Government policies and the type and level of assistance which can be expected. Groups of camp populations are also transported to their home communes, prior to any moves, so that they can see for themselves conditions at home and arrangements which have been made for their return. As an additional step to counter the misinformation campaigns within camps, factual reports of security. incidents, including action taken by the Government in response to them, are provided promptly to camp populations through a combination of leaf let drops and radio broadcasts. At the rate of movement, it is estimated that the camps will be empty by end of May.


25 January 1995

Original: ENGLISH



1.   The present report is submitted in pursuance of the statement by the President of the Security Council dated 30 November 1994 (S/PRST/1994/75), in which the Security Council stressed that a determined effort must be made by the international community to promote the, repatriation of the Rwandese refugees, to reduce intimidation of prospective raturnees and to improve security in the Rwandese refugee camps, especially those in Zaire. To that end, the Security Council requested me, inter alia, to continue to explore, as appropriate, all possible means of addressing the problems of Security in the Rwandese refugee camps.

2.   While there have been some positive developments since my report of 18 November 1994 (5/1994/1308) in respect of the creation of conditions conducive to repatriation, the continuing presence of nearly 2 million Rwandese refugees in Burundi, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire is a matter of serious concern. The general security situation in the camps remains dangerous for both refugees and relief workers. The situation is also potentially dcatabilizing for the host countries and for the subregion as a whole. The only effective solution to this problem remains the safe and voluntary repatriation of the refugees. Accordingly, and taking into account the improving situation within Rwanda, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reiberdted, in December 1994, that it would assist, wherever possible, the voluntary return of those refugees who wished to go back to Rwanda.

3.   The Government of Rwanda has signed tripartite agreements with UNHCR and the Governments of Burundi and Zaire respectively an the voluntary repatriation of refugees. These agreements define the conditions for repatriation, including returnee protection and land tenure. The Governments of Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania are also involved in an ongoing dialogue on issues affecting the refugees in the latter country and their repatriation to Rwanda.

4.   So far, only 200,000 refugees out of those who left the country after 6 April 1994 have returned to Rwanda. As indicated in my report of 18 November, the combined factors of intimidation by the forme government leaders, military and militia of refugees who wish to return to Rwanda and the concern on the part of the refugees that they may face reprisals and/or may not be able to regain their property once they do return to the country continue to be the main factors impeding repatriation.

5.   In pursuance of the Security Council's presidential statement of 30 November, I dispatched a joint technical team from the Department of Peace-keeping Operations and UNHCR, to Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zaire from 11 to 19 December to review the situation prevailing in the refugee camps. The team's findings are summarized below.


A.        Refugees in Burundi

6.   There are approximately 200,000 refugees, mostly from southern Rwanda, in Burundi, primarily in the northern region of the country. There is constant movement of refugees in this area, as Rwandese continue to seek security in Burundi and both Rwandese and Burundi nationals continue to move to the 'United Republic of Tanzania in search of more secure conditions.

7.   Considering the very sensitive nature of the security problems in Burundi, UNHCR' a efforts to address security in the refugee damps essentially, have centred around improved monitoring of the prevailing conditions, through an effective field presence and vigorous démarches with the civilian and military authorities. UNHCR plans to continue to pursue this course of action, and is assigning an increased number of experienced officers not only to the regions of Burundi hosting refugees but also to the capital.

B.        Refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania.

8.   There are approximately 600,000 Rwandese refugees living in eight camps in the United Republic of Tanzania. While the population of these camps continues to increase, this influx, as noted above, consists mostly of Rwandese refugees from Burundi and Burundi nationals seeking more secure conditions.

9.   The camps in the United Republic of Tanzania are relatively more secure and better organized than those in Zaire, mostly because fewer refugees fled to this area and the relief community was already established in the area before the influx took place. An in Zaire, the refugees have created governing structures similar to those that existed in Rwanda, beginning at the prefecture level and extending down to the commune level. They have chosen leaders who exercise authority at all levels of this hierarchy. (Some of these leaders held the same positions before the war.) As in refugee camps elsewhere, the local governing structure in the Rwandese camps in Zaire and the United Republic of Tanzania provides a sense of organization in the camps, as well as a security mechanism, and facilitates the delivery of relief assistance,

10. The refugees in the Tanzanian camps have been registered, and assistance is therefore delivered directly to them. Hence, there is no scope for the misuse of assistance by refugee leaders, as has been the case in Zaire. However, extremist elements in the Camps in the United Republic of Tanzania are reported to have considerable influence over the refugee population, though to a lesser extent than in Zaire.

11. The Tanzanian Government and UNHCR have determined that security in the cams can be enhanced through the deployment of Tanzanian police personnel. These personnel not only must be sufficient in number but must also be adequately equipped to maintain law and order. So far, 310 Tanzanian police, both general duty and special forces, have been assigned to the refugee camps. They are currently receiving assistance from UNHCR, covering such items as tents and food rations, as well an incentive allowances. UNHCR has also made vehicles and communications equipment available to the Tanzanian police force.

12. The refugee population has also created its own security force, the "refugee guardians", which cooperates with the Tanzanian police force. While conditions are currently stable in the camps, it is nevertheless felt that, given the degree of control the leaders have over the camp population, they could easily allow the security situation to deteriorate, should it be in their interest to do so.

C.        Refugees in Zaire

13. There are approximately 1.4 million Rwandese refugees living in the camps in Zaire. These camps continue to be the most potentially explosive, with the most acute security situation in the camps north of Lake Kivu, in the Goma region, where approximately 850,000 refugees are located. It is therefore considered that, while further steps need to be taken to increase security in the camps in the United Republic of Tanzania and Burundi, priority should be accorded to increasing security in the camps in Zaire, especially in the Goma region.

14. Par the most part, the refugees in the Goma area of Zaire fled Rwanda in mid 1994. The political leaders of the former Government, as well as their armed forces and the militia; fled to this area together with countless civilians as the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) gained control over the western part of Rwanda in the last days of the war. As a result, the refugee population in Zaire tends to include more political, military and militia elements of the former Government than the camps in the United Republic of Tanzania or Burundi and their hostility towards the Government in Kigali is reflected in actions that have led to insecure conditions in the camps.

15. More specifically, the refugees are intimidated from publicly expressing their desire to return to Rwanda. The lives of such people, as well as the lives of politically moderate refugees or those who may have intermarried or are suspected of being infiltrators are seriously threatened and some of them are known to have been killed. There is also a significant threat of civil disturbances in the camps. This threat is especially acute when refugees congregate together, for example, when relief supplies are distributed. In addition, as in any area containing a large number of people living in highly dense and impoverished conditions, common crime is prevalent in the camps.

16. The threat to the safety of international relief workers is also significant. There are now 45 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and about 1,600 international relief workers in the Goma area alone. A large number of local Zairian and Rwandese relief personnel also work in the camps. The security threat to these relief workers includes harassment, especially on their way to and from the camps when they are frequently stopped, in some cases at gunpoint, and asked to pay tolls or are threatened for other reasons. There is also a significant risk that relief workers can be caught up in civil disturbances or incidents between refugees themselves. Some relief workers have been threatened by refugees who for some reason wrongly perceive them to be opposed to their interests.

17. Initially, the leaders in the camps were called upon to facilitate the delivery of relief assistance. Unfortunately, they misused this responsibility by using the delivery of assistance to persuade refugees to behave according to their interests and by hoarding and/or selling such assistance rather than distributing it. As a result, the incidence of malnutrition, especially in the most vulnerable groups, including women, children and the elderly, was initially much higher than it should have been given the level of assistance provided. Recently, it has however been possible to provide assistance more directly to the beneficiaries and, as a result, both the negative influence of the camp leaders and levels of malnutrition have been reduced. In addition, UNHCR is about to proceed with the registration of refugees in the camps, which will also help to ensure more effective delivery of relief assistance.

18. The Government of Zaire has taken steps in recent months to enhance the security situation in the camps. As a result, the security situation has improved somewhat since my last report. However, it is assessed that the potential for serious disturbances remains extremely high.

19. Recently, Japanese and United States seismologists have detected new signs of a possible volcanic eruption in the seismically active area of Goma. A UNHCR task force is preparing contingency plans for evacuation from camps that might be affected, including the identification of temporary sites for the relocation of the refugee population concerned. In the meantime, seismic activity is being monitored on a regular basis.

20. The majority of refugees are aware that their long-term interests will be served only by returning to Rwanda and that assistance cannot be provided to them indefinitely in the camps. It is assumed that at least 25 per cent of the refugees would not face land tenure problems upon their return to Rwanda and that, under present conditions, 25 to 50 per cent of the refugees could return in the next 6 to 12 months. UNHCR also considers that, if security is provided for repatriation, the rate of voluntary return to Rwanda would increase.


A.        Peace-keeping operation

21. In its presidential statement of 30 November, the Security Council requested me to consult with potential troop-contributing countries to assess their willingness to participate in a possible peace-keeping operation to enhance security in the camps modelled along the lines described in paragraphs 18 to 25 of my report of 18 November. The Council also requested me to provide a detailed description of the objectives, rules of engagement and costs of such an operation. Accordingly, the joint Department of Peace-Keeping Operations/UNHCR technical team was asked to collect pertinent information for use in the formulation of recommendations along the lines requested by the Security Council.

22. It will be recalled that the objective of the peace-keeping operation outlined in paragraphs 18 to 25 of my 18 November report was to provide security for international relief workers, protection for the storage and delivery of humanitarian assistance and safe passage to the Rwandese border for those refugees who wish to return to Rwanda. It was estimated that a force size of approximately 3,000 all ranks would be required to carry out these tasks in the camps north of Lake Kivu. A parallel operation, launched simultaneously in the area south of Lake Kivu, where conditions are marginally more secure, would require an additional 2,000 troops.

23. The proposed peace-keeping operation was to be conducted in two phases. During the first phase, two mechanized battalions would cordon off and establish secure areas in the camps, within which local security units would be formed and trained by international security experts. During the second phase of the operation, once reasonably secure conditions were deemed to have been created, the local forces would take over the security functions being performed by the peace-keeping troops, with back-up support provided by a smaller group of United Nations military personnel. The mechanized battalions would then move forward to create similar secure areas in other locations.

24. The joint technical mission confirmed the feasibility of such an approach, but considered that the operation would require more than the originally estimated 3,000 to 5,000 troops. It is estimated that the tasks in the north Kivu region alone would require a force of 4,100, including military logistic support units, instead of 3,000 as indicated in my report of IS November. The mission further concluded that a similar operation in the south Kivu region also would require a substantially stronger force than originally anticipated. The rules of engagement for such an operation would, in accordance with normal practice, authorize the use of force in self-defence, including against forcible attempts to impede the discharge of the operation's mandate. In addition, an foreseen for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNHCR) under resolution 918 (1994), the force would be authorized to take action against persons or groups who threaten protected sites and populations, United Nations and other humanitarian personnel or the means of delivery and distribution of humanitarian relief.

25. Since the adoption of the presidential statement of 30 November, I have consulted with about 60 potential troop-contributing countries to ascertain their readiness to make available the troops necessary to undertake such an operation. As of 23 January, only one country had formally offered a unit. Under these circumstances, it is clear that the option of deploying a peace-keeping force to address the security issues in the refugee camps in Zaire is not feasible. Accordingly, it has not been considered necessary to prepare cost estimates for this option.

B.        Alternative-measures

1.         An international police/military observer group

26. In its presidential statement of 30 November, the Security Council also requested me to assess the possibility of interim measures aimed at providing immediate assistance to the Zairian security forces in protecting humanitarian operations in the camps, including the possibility of deploying security experts, from member Governments or through contractual arrangements, to train and monitor the local security forces. Towards this end, the joint Department of Peace-Keeping Operation/UNHCR technical mission explored the possibility of an approach based on the deployment of Zairian security forces, which would assume responsibility for improving security in the camps, with the support of a group of 'United Nations civilian police and military observers.

27. In order to enhance security in the camps, it was considered that the local security forces should perform the following tasks:

(a)  Patrolling. As noted above, refugees suffer from the high incidence of common crime, in addition to intimidation. Relief workers can also be easily caught up in civil disturbances. A 24-hour patrolling presence of security personnel could help to maintain law and order, thus alleviating such threats. These personnel would gradually develop relations with the refugees and their governing structures and would work with them in controlling and abating the incidence of common crime;

(b)  Escort and guarding of static points. Given the risks present in travelling to and from Goma, an escort capacity should be created to accompany relief workers when travelling at night and in the early morning. A security presence would also be of benefit at static positions in the camps, including, for example, at aid-distribution points, UNHCR and NGO focal sites, hospitals, feeding contras and dispensaries. A security presence would also be required to keep a sense of order and calm during the census and registration of the refugees, which UNHCR is planning to conduct in the camps in the near future;

(c)  Storage and transport of humanitarian assistance. The main security issue related to the storage of relief assistance is the looting of warehouses. While these areas are currently guarded, the problem of looting has not been alleviated. An additional security presence, as well as increased lighting and fencing, are therefore required. The transport of assistance to and from the warehouses is deemed to be threatened at this time;

(d)  Security for repatriation. Enhanced security is of particular importance to facilitate the repatriation of refugees who have expressed the wish to return to Rwanda. At present, just indicating a desire to return to Rwanda can put refugees in considerable danger. It in therefore considered essential that, upon indicating to relief workers their desire to return to Rwanda, refugees should be offered security, including immediate transfer to transit camps. Such camps would be established in Zaire at some distance from the refugee camps to house refugees until they can be transported to the border. These camps would require a 24-hour security presence. Security for the transportation of refugees to the border, which is now provided, should be strengthened.

28. As indicated above, it was envisaged that these tasks could be carried out by a local security force. A group of approximately 130 to 200 United Nations civilian police officers would be required to train and monitor the local forces. In addition, about 30 to So military observers would be deployed to liaise with the local forces at the command level on issues related to the overall implementation of the operation. The military observers would also assist coordinate repatriation.

29. During my meeting with him on 15 December 1994, the Prime Minister of Zaire, H.E. Mr. Kengo WA Dondo, confirmed to me his Government's readiness to provide the troops necessary to enhance security in the camps. I therefore instructed my Special Representative for Rwanda, Mr. Shaharyax Khan, to visit Kinshasa to discuss with Zairian officials the possibility of the Government of Zaire undertaking these tasks, an the understanding that the international community would be encouraged to assist with an appropriate level of logistic and financial support.

30. Mr. Khan visited Kinshasa from 28 to 31 December. He was accompanied by a representative of UNHCR as well as the UNHCR Deputy Force Commander and logistic experts. In Kinshasa, Mr. Khan was received by the Prime minister and met with the Ministers of Defence, Justice, Foreign Affairs and the interior. Technical talks were also held at the working level. Zairian officials indicated their Government's hope that the refugees would soon return to Rwanda. They stressed that effective steps should be taken in Rwanda to ensure that repatriation could take place in conditions of safety and dignity. They also reiterated the Zairian Governmental commitment to address the security situation in the camps and indicated its readiness to initiate prompt action in that regard, with the cooperation and support of the United Nations.

31. The government of Zaire indicated that it would be prepared to deploy a national security force of about 1.500 to 2,500 troops to the camps. Through technical-discussions, the modalities of the logistic and other external support needed for these troops were considered. The Government welcomed the proposal that international police and military observers be deployed to the area to provide technical advice to the local security force and to monitor and coordinate the operation. However, it pointed out that it did not favour deployment of United Nations peace-keeping troops to the camps.

32. In order to pursue this option, nearly 50 Member States were contacted to ascertain their willingness to provide police personnel, stressing the importance of French-speaking personnel. An of 23 January, only four countries had expressed an interest in providing civilian police personnel and only one of these countries was French-speaking. As regards military observers, it was felt that, in order to expedite implementation, the military observers could perhaps be provided by UNHCR on a temporary basis, subject to the concurrence of the contributing countries concerned. Those countries have been consulted in this regard. However, only one of them has so far responded that it would, in principle, be prepared to allow its military observers to operate in Zaire. It therefore seems that this second, more modest, approach to enhancing security in the camps in Zaire faces difficulties and cannot be pursued, at least at present.

33. Mr. Khan also visited the United Republic of Tanzania on 4 and 5 January 1995, where he was received by President Mwini and Prime Minister Msunya. While in Dar-es-Salaam, he also met with the Chief of Defence Staff of the Tanzanian Amy and the Inspector-General of the Police. The Tanzanian Government also indicated its view that the refugees should return to Rwanda and that efforts should be-continued to ensure that conditions conducive to voluntary repatriation of the refugees were created inside the country.

34. As noted above, at present, 310 Tanzanian police officers are providing security in the camps. The Government indicated that it would be prepared to increase this force to 500, but that it would require logistic and operational support from external sources in order to do no. Some support towards this end is currently being provided by the Government of the Netherlands through UNHCR.

2.         Contractual arrangements

35. Another possibility, which has been explored by the Secretariat on a contingency basis, is the provision of training and monitoring support to the local security forces through contractual arrangements with a private organization. Under such arrangements, a local force would be trained by a team of 50 international instructors, 10 of whom would remain behind after the initial training was completed to provide further on-the-job training assistance. An additional 40 international experts would be required to monitor the operation and for liaison and coordination functions. It in estimated that the training programme would take a period of one month for each group of local personnel trained and that, within two months of the start of the operation, the first group of local personnel could be deployed to its area of operations. Within four months, the entire local force would be trained and deployed to the camps both north and south of Lake Kivu.

36. The possibility of undertaking such an operation, including the provision of logistic and other support to the local security forces has been discussed with UNHCR. However, initial financial estimates show that an operation of this nature would be costly. Moreover, since it would have to be funded entirely through voluntary contributions, UNHCR does not feel that it would be able to mobilize the necessary resources, especially since some potential donor Governments have indicated that they would not be in favour of this approach.

C.        Security measures through UNHCR

37. Since the various options described above do not appear feasible, at least at the present stage, I have recently held further consultations on the problem of security in the refugee camps, especially those in Zaire, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Sadako Ogata. AA a result of these consultations, it has been decided that UNHCR would follow up with the Government of Zaire on the discussions held by my Special Representative, with a view to concluding appropriate arrangements, under UNHCR's refugee: protection and humanitarian assistance mandate, to enhance security in the camps. I have informed the Prime Minister of Zaire accordingly and have expressed to him the hope that these discussions would lead to the early definition and implementation of mutually acceptable arrangements to enhance the safety and security of the Rwandese refugees in Zaire.

38. UNHCR has dispatched a Special Envoy to Kinshasa for this purpose. UNHCR will keep me informed of the progress made in this regard and I shall advise the Security Council accordingly. UNHCR will also continue to explore means of augmenting support to the Tanzanian Government to-a le it to increase the level of security it in currently providing in the camps. As regards the refugee camps in Burundi, UNHCR has indicated that, for the time being, the security situation in these camps is being adequately addressed through the measures described in paragraph 7 above. UNAMIR, for its part, will continue to coordinate closely with UNHCR in facilitating the safe and voluntary repatriation of the refugees to Rwanda.


39. The scope and complexity of the problems in the Rwandese refugee camps, especially those in Zaire, represent an unprecedented challenge. It is therefore not surprising that the search for an appropriate solution to these problems has been a difficult process. An the present report demonstrates, the options aimed at enhancing security in the camps through a peace-keeping operation, under one form or another, do not appear viable, at least at the present time.

40. Peace-keeping is essentially an instrument for conflict management and resolution. It is true that ' in recent years it has undergone important quantitative and qualitative evolution. However, it is not designed and has not generally been used to ensure security in refugee camps. Indeed, it has traditionally been the responsibility of the host countries to provide security to ' the refugees located on their territory, albeit with an appropriate level of support from the international community.

41. I therefore understand the hesitations of Member States regarding the idea of seeking a solution to the security problems in the camps through the instrument of peace-keeping. There is no doubt, however, that the innocent civilians, who fled Rwanda in the wake of a devastating civil war and are exposed daily to intimidation and violence in the camps, deserve the continued attention and assistance of the international community, both where they are now and in their efforts to return to their country. Furthermore, the humanitarian relief personnel, who are risking their lives to ensure that basic assistance reaches the refugees, should be provided with adequate security to be able to carry out their work effectively. I therefore strongly urge the international community to support the efforts of UNHCR, in cooperation with the Governments of Zaire and the United Republic of Tanzania to put in place satisfactory security arrangements in the camps and to provide generously the resources required for this purpose.

42. Strengthening security in the camps is an indispensable step for creating conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation of the refugees. However, as I stressed in my report of le November, any effort to provide security in the camps would be futile unless parallel steps are also taken inside Rwanda to ensure that the refugees can return to their home communities without fear of retribution or persecution and to promote genuine national reconciliation between all segments of Rwandese society. Until now the Government of Rwanda, which assumed power in a traumatized 'and shattered country, with its infrastructure virtually destroyed and its inhabitants severely dislocated, has been bereft of even the minimum resources to begin to restore normal conditions. The commitments made at the recent Round-table Conference on Rwanda and in response to the consolidated inter-agency appeal bring some hope that this process now can commence. This in turn would promote the prospects of reinvigorating the political process and providing a framework for the action to be taken to address security in the camps and repatriation of the refugees to Rwanda, as suggested by the security Council in its statement of 30 November 1994.

43. The summit meeting of the leaders in the subregion, held in Nairobi on 7 January 1995, made a useful contribution towards the definition of such a framework. This meeting brought together the Presidents of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and the Prime Minister of Zaire. My Special Representative for Rwanda also attended the meeting. The regional leaders emphasized the close relationship between improving both security in the refugee camps and conditions inside Rwanda in order to create an environment: conducive to the voluntary repatriation of the refugees. In this connection, they affirmed their support for the establishment and operationalization of the International Tribunal for Rwanda; the separation of suspected perpetrators of genocide from innocent refugees and the separation of intimidators from the refugee camps, an well an the establishment of safe corridors from refuge* camps to the Rwandese border and of safe corridors and transit points inside Rwanda. They commended the Government of Rwanda for the steps it has so far taken to establish a broad-based government administration and urged the Government, towards this and, to deepen its efforts, In the spirit of the Arusha peace accord. They further urged the Government of Rwanda to put in place additional confidence-building measures to encourage the voluntary return of refugees. The regional leaders also urged the international community to increase its economic support for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Rwanda.

44. The progress achieved at the regional summit of 7 January should facilitate the work to be undertaken during the Regional Conference on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons in the Great Lakes Region to be hosted by the Organization of African Unity and UNHCR in Bujumbura in mid-February. A preparatory meeting for the Conference was held in Addis Ababa on 9 January. I hope that the Conference will lead to further progress in creating the conditions necessary for the refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety and dignity and that it will open the way to the holding of a broader conference aimed at identifying long-term solutions to promote and ensure peace, security and development in the subregion. Preliminary consultations-with interested Governments are currently under way to develop a consensus on the issues to be addressed by such a conference.




Hon. Jean Marie NGENDAHAYO

Minister for External Relations and Cooperation

Hon. Marcienne MUJAWAHA

Minister for Human Rights, Social Action and the Promotion of Women

Hon. Lt. Colonel Firman SINZOYIHEBA

Minister of National Defence


Chief of Mission, Office of the President

Ambassador Procès BIGIRIMANA

Ministry of External Relations and Cooperation

Ambassador Antoine NTAMOBWA

Ministry of External Relations and Cooperation

Ambassador Emmanuel RWAMIBANGO

Office of the President


Office of the President (Documentation)

Mr. Salavator NTINESHWA

Ministry of Interior and Public Security


Ministry of Reintegration and Resettlement of Displaced Persons and Returnees

Lt. Colonel Pascal SIMBANDUKU

Ministry of Defence


Chief, Office for Documentation

Mr. Gaspard KOBAKO

President, National Commission Responsible for Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement of Burundese Refugees



Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Mr. Frederick O. OYAYA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Mr. Japheth R. GETUGI

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation



Minister for Rehabilitation and Social Integration

Mr. Emmanuel GASANA

Director of Cabinet, Office of the President

Colonel Frank MUGAMBAGE

Member of National Assembly

Ms. Christine UMUTONI

Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Rehabilitation and Social Integration

Dr. Ephraim KABAIJA

Counsellor, Office of the President

H.E. Mr. Bernard MAKUZA

Ambassador to Burundi

Captain Charles KARAMBA

Ministry of Defence


Chargé d'affaires, Embassy in Ethiopia

Mr. Theoneste KARENZI

First Counsellor, Embassy in Burundi

Mr. Georges MUPENZI

Director of Social Affairs, Ministry of Work and Social Affairs


Hon. Steven CHEBROT

Minister of Labour and Social Affairs

H.E. Mr. Jovan KULANY

Ambassador to Ethiopia


Ambassdor to Rwanda and Burundi

Mr. Alex OLUKA

Under-Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs


First Secretary, Embassy in Ethiopia

Mr. Patrick MUGOYA

Burundi Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Deputy Director of Refugees, Ministry of Local Government



Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Minister of Home Affairs


Principal Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs

Ambassador S. LWENO

Director for Africa and the Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ambassador S. TAMBWE

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Brigadier General C. MSUYA

Ministry of Defence


Commissioner of Police


Head of Refugee Section, Ministry of Home Affairs


Desk Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Desk Officer for International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Chief of Operations, Office of the President


Division for Africa and the Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation


Private Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs



Minister for Foreign Affairs

H.E. Mr. Vizi TOPI

Ambassador to Burundi

H.E. Mr. Longange BOMINA-NDONI

Ambassdor to Ethiopia

Mr. Musenga MUZUMBI

Office of the President


Special Envoy of the Prime Minister

Mr. Damien IPAKA

Deputy Director of Cabinet, Office of the Vice-Prime Minister

Mr. Yenyi OLUNGU

Attorney General

Mr. Kapeta NZOVU

Legal Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Masudi OGOBANI

Coordinator, Directorate for African and Middle Eastern Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Minister of Home Affairs


Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs


Director of African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Commissioner for Refugees, Ministry of Home Affairs


Director, Office of the President


Defence Attachd, High Commission in Tanzania


Interpreter, Ministry of Foreign Affairs




Secretary of State for Cooperation and Development


Deputy Chief of Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Ambassador to Burundi

H.E. Mr. Alain GENOT

Ambassador to Ethiopia


Ambassador to Rwanda


Director of Administration,Cooperation and Development (A.G.C.D.)

Mr. Henri NEEL

Chief of Section, Cooperation

Mr. Baudouin FONTAINE

Deputy Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Cabinet Attaché, Ministry of Cooperation and Development


First Secretary, Embassy in Burundi


H.E. Mr. Henri RETHORE

Ambassador to Burundi

Ms. Bernadette LEFORT

Deputy Director for Central and East Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ms. Maryse DAVIET

Counsellor, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Mr. Frederic BOYER

Chief of Mission, Ministry of Cooperation

Mr. Terence WILLIS

Chargé d'affaires a.i., Embassy in Burundi

Mr. Jacques GERARD

Chief of Mission, Cooperation and Culture, Embassy in Burundi


H.E. Ambassador Harald GANNS

Director for African Affairs, Federal Foreign Office

Dr. Gunter BONNET

Head, Division of Refugee Affairs, Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development

Mr. Klaus-Dieter STREICHER

First Secretary, Division of Humanitarian Assistance, Federal Foreign Office

H.E. Mr. Walter LEUCHS

Ambassador to Burundi

Mr. Bernd GANTER

First Secretary, Embassy in Burundi


Ms. Phyllis OAKLEY

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, State Department

H.E. Mr. Townsend FRIEDMAN

Coordinator for Rwanda, State Department

H.E. Mr. Robert C. KRUEGER

Ambassador to Burundi

H.E. Mr. David RAWSON

Ambassador to Rwanda

Mr. Myron GOLDEN

Director for Burundi and Rwanda, USAID

Ms. Margaret McKELVEY

Director, Office of International Refugee Assistance for Africa, the Americas, and Asia, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, State Department


Officer-in-Charge for Refugees and Migration for Africa, Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations Office at Geneva


Officer-in-Charge for Rwanda, Bureau for African Affairs, State Department


Regional Coordinator, Disaster Assistance Response Team

III. OAU COMMISSION OF 20 (excluding those listed elsewhere)


H.E. Mr. Boudjemaa DELMI

Ambassador to Ethiopia


Hon. Francis NKWAIN

Minister Delegate for External Relations


Ambassador to Ethiopia


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Ministry of Security Affairs


H.E. Mr. Diabate DAOUDA

Ambassador to Ethiopia



Minister and Commissioner for Refugees

Dr. Mohamed Ahmed ELAGHBASH

Relief Commissioner, Ministry of Social Planning

H.E. Mr. Abdelmahmoud ABDELHALIM

Ambassador to Ethiopia


Mr. Charles MUGARI

Counsellor, Embassy in Ethiopia

IV.       CHAIRMEN OF THE OAU (Past, Present and Future)

EGYPT (Past Chair)


Ambassador to Burundi

Ms. Salwa MOUFID

First Secretary, Embassy in Ethiopia

Mr. Yasser SHABAN

Third Secretary, Embassy in Burundi

TUNISIA (Present Chair)

H.E. Mr. Sadok FAYALA

Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

H.E. Mr. Bechir BEN AISSA

Ambassador to Ethiopia

Mr. Ezzedine ZAYANI

First Counsellor, Embassy in Ethiopia

ETHIOPIA (Future Chair)

Hon. Aman HASSEN

Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr. Abraha Haile MICHAEL

Deputy Director Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs

Colonel Asaminew BEDANE

Head of Foreign Military Relations, Ministry of Defence

Mr. Berhanu KEBEDE

Director General for International Organizations and Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Ms. Teresa BARNES

Third Secretary, High Commission in Kenya


H.E. Mr. Paul HARTIG

Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania

Mr. Albert KOSTNER

Austrian Development Cooperation, Burundi

Mr. Florent ZIGMANN

Austrian Development Cooperation, Burundi


Head of Austrian Rehabilitation Programmes, Vienna


Director, Austrian Rehabilitation Programmes, Kigali


Hon. Christine STEWART

Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa

H.E. Ms. Lucie EDWARDS

Ambassador to Kenya


Deputy Minister for Africa and the Middle East

H.E. Ambassador Bernard DUSSAULT

Special Envoy, Countries of the Great Lakes


Officer-in-Charge of Bureau and Advisor to the Canadian Embassy in Rwanda

Ms. Louise CROSBY

Adviser to the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa


Second Secretary (Immigration), Embassy in Kenya


Mr. Fan CHI

Chargé d'affairs a.i., Embassy in Burundi



Ambassador to Uganda


Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations Office at Geneva


H.E. Mr. llari RANTAKARI

Ambassador to Burundi and Tanzania


Mr. Stavros NAKOS

Chargé d'affaires, Embassy in Zaire

Mr. Dimitrios LASCARIS

Vice Consul, Consulate in Burundi


President of the Greek Community in Burundi


H.E. Giuseppe DE ANDREA

Under Secretary of Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People

Apostolic Nuncio Rino PASSIGATO


H.E. Mr. Marcello RICOVERI

Ambassador to Uganda

Mr. Armando BORGHESI

Expert, Embassy in Uganda


Honorary Consul, Bujumbura

Mr. Vincenzo ODDO

Department of Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Mr. Masahiko HORIE

Chargé d'affaires a.i., Embassy in Kenya

Mr. Takehiro OKUBO

Officer-in-Charge for Rwanda and Burundi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Director General a.i. for Cooperation, Ministry for International Cooperation


Chief of Humanitarian Aid and Emergency Assistance, Department for Multilateral Cooperation and Special Programmes


Central and East Africa Section, Cooperation and Development


Chief a.i., Cooperation and Development, Kigali


First Secretary, Royal Embassy in Kenya


H.E. Mr. Martin HUSLID

Ambassador, Oslo


Counsellor, Embassy in Tanzania



High Commissioner, Nairobi



Ambassador to Burundi and Tanzania

Mr. Francisco Javier CASAS

Chief of Cabinet, Office of the President, Cooperation


Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


H.E. Ambassador OLGELUND

Chief of Political Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


First Secretary, Department of International Cooperation and Development, Desk Officer for Burundi

Ms. Gunilla KIHLMAN

Head of Desk for Burundi, ASDI



Chief of Operational Division for Africa and Latin America, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs


Chief of Humanitarian Mission, Embassy in Rwanda

Mr. Jean-Francois PAROZ

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs


H.E. Mr. Edward CLAY

High Commissioner to Uganda and Ambassador to Rwanda and Burundi

Ms. Gill HELKE

First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Office at Geneva

Mr. Michael ELLIS

First Secretary, Eastern Africa Department, Overseas Development Administration

Mr. Stephen HISLOCK

First Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office



Mr. Peter REES





Counsellor, Development Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Counsellor, Political Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Mr. Whan Bok CHO

Chargé d'affaires



Head of Department, Ministry for International Cooperation

Mr. Alexandre RYKOV

Chief of Section, Ministry for International Cooperation


Ambassador to Burundi

H.E. Anatoli SMIRNOV

Ambassador to Rwanda

Mr. Victor DRATCH

Counsellor, Embassy in Burundi



Head of Delegation, Burundi

Ms. Begona BRAVO

Burundi Desk, Development Directorate, Brussels

Ms. Marie SPAAK

Rwanda and Burundi Desk (ECHO), Brussels

Mr. Miguel AMADO

Counsellor, Delegation in Burundi

Mr. Emmanuel DEISSER

Food Aid

Mr. Pascal JOANNES

Food Aid



Mr. Lansana KOUYATE

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Accompanied by:

Ms. Florence BARRILLON-POMES, Senior Political Affairs Officer

Ambassador Robert DILLON

Special Humanitarian Envoy

Accompanied by:

Mr. Serge TELLE, Department of Humanitarian Affairs, Geneva


H.E. Ambassador A. OULD-ABDALLAH

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi

Accompanied by:

Mr. H. ABDEL-AZIZ, Senior Political Advisor


H.E. Ambassador Shaharyar KHAN

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Rwanda

Accompanied by:

Dr. Abdul KABIA

Executive Director, Office of the SRSG for Rwanda


Mr. Randolf KENT

Humanitarian Coordinator, UN Rwanda Emergency Office

Mr. Charles Petrie



Representative a.i. in Burundi


Mr. Normand LAUZON

Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of Regional Bureau for Africa

Mr. Aliou DIALLO

Resident Representative, Zaire

Mr. Sukehiro HASEGAWA

Resident Representative, Rwanda


Resident Representative, Burundi


Designated Resident Representative, Burundi

Mr. Andre Francois CARVALHO

Deputy Resident Representative, Burundi


Humanitarian Assistance Programme Manager, Regional Bureau for Africa



Director, Least Developed Countries Unit


National Programme Officer, UNESCO House for Peace, Bujumbura


Ms. Kokoe KAMARA

Coordinator, Human Rights Office in Bujumbura

Mr. Abderrazak ESSAIED

Deputy Chief, Human Rights Field Operation in Kigali


Mr. Nigel FISHER

Deputy Director, Emergencies


Regional External Relations Officer

Ms. Vicky GRAHAM

Regional Information Officer



Director for Burundi


Ms. Jacqueline DAMON

Resident Representative, Burundi



Deputy Executive Director for Operations, Rome

Ms. Brenda BARTON

Regional Information Officer, Nairobi


Director of Operations, Burundi


Dr. Ebrahim M. SAMBA

Director, Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville

Dr. Mohamed M.O. HACEN

Representative, Burundi

Dr. ldrissa SOW

Special Coordinator, Rwanda

Dr. Louisa CHAN

Acting Chief, Africa Section, Division of Emergency and Humanitarian Action

Dr. Abou MOUDI

Representative, Zaire


Representative, United Republic of Tanzania

Dr. Ousmane DIOUF

Technical Officer for Emergency, Burundi (WHO/UNDP)

Dr. Tunde-Agnes MADARAS

Medical Officer, Burundi


L'Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique (ACCT)

H.E. Mr. Melchior BWAKIRA, Ambassador and National Correspondant

Communaute Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs (C.E.P.G.L.)

Mr. Salvator MATATA, Executive Secretary

Council of Europe

Mr. Taddeus TWINSKI, Deputy to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Ms. Eliane CARVALHO, North-South Centre (Observer)

Economic Commission for Africa

Dr. Sadig RASHEED, Representing the Executive Secretary

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Mr. Jean DE COURTEN, Director of Operations

Mr. Jean-Daniel TAUXE, Representative for Africa

Ms. Marguerite CONTAT, Chief of Mission, OAU

Mr. Alain AESCHLIMANN, Legal Representative

Mr. Daniel PHILIPPIN, Head of Desk for Rwanda and Burundi

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Mr. Eugenio AMBROSI, Chief, Section of Humanitarian and National Programmes, Regional Bureau for Africa and the Middle East

Mr. Martin VOGT, Chief of Mission, Nairobi, Kenya


African Humanitarian Action (AHA)

H.E. Ambassador Teferra SHIAWL, Chief of Mission, Rwanda

Action Internationale Contre la Faim (AICF)

Mr. Thomas GONNET, Chief of Mission, Burundi

Care International

Mr. Claude St-PIERRE, Director, Burundi


Mr. Rob WILLIAMS, Field Director, Burundi

Mr. Dominic MACSORLEY, Field Director, Burundi

Goal Ireland

Mr. Michael DOLAN, Project Coordinator, Gikongoro, Rwanda

Ms. Grainne O'NEILL, Logistics Officer, Goma, Zaire


Ms. Julia TAFT, President

International Council for Voluntary Action (ICVA)

Mr. Trygve NORDBY, Chairman

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Mr. Yves LAPOINTE, Representative, Burundi

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Mr. Gregory BECK, Country Director, Rwanda and Zaire Ms. Patricia SWAHN, Programme Officer

IRED/Grands Lacs

Mr. Arsene Kirhero NSIBULA, Deputy Representative

Ligue Iteka

Mr. Tharcisse NSAVYIMANA, President

Ms. Catherine MABOBORI, Member of the Association of Women for Peace

Ms. Carolle LEPINE, CECI

Médecins du Monde (MDM)

Mr. Bernard JACQUEMART, Regional Coordinator

Mr. Olivier BRALINSTEFFER, Regional Coordinator

Médecins sans Frontières Internationale (MSF)

Mr. Nicolas DE TORRENTE, Coordinator, Rwanda Ms. Barbara KERSTIENS, Coordinator, Rwanda

NGO Coalition, Goma

Mr. Steven Smith, Coordinator

Organisation pour l'amenagement et le developpement du bassin de la riviere Kagera (OBK)

Mr. André NIKWIGIZE, Director of Projects


Mr. Odhiambo ANACLETI, Refugee and Migrants Liaison Officer

Save the Children Fund-United Kingdom (SCF/UK)

Mr. Steven RIFKIN, Field Director, Rwanda

Synergies Africa

Mr. Hassan BA, Secretary-General



H.E. Mr. Salim Ahmed SALIM


H.E. Ambassador M. BAH, Director of Political Department

H.E. Ambassador T.M. BANDORA, Deputy Director of Cabinet

Mr. Ngung.E. MPOTSH, Director, Bureau for Refugees

Mr. I.C. MPONZI, Conference Focal Point

H.E. Mr. L. Bassole, Ambassador, Representative to Burundi

Mr. J.B. FELLI, Representative to Rwanda

Mr. R. MUTSAU, Deputy Chief of Protocol

Ms. Macrine MAYANJA, Coordinator



Ms. Sadako OGATA

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Mr. Kamel MORJANE, Director, Regional Burueau for Africa

Mr. Carrol FAUBERT, Special Envoy for Rwanda and Burundi

Mr. Francois FOUINAT, Chef de Cabinet

Mr. Augustine MAHIGA, Coordinator, Special Unit Rwanda and Burundi

Mr. Blaise CHERIF, Senior Legal Adviser, Regional Bureau for Africa

Mr. Pierre BERTRAND, Coordinator, Protection Operations Support

Ms. Ana LIRIA-FRANCH, Head of Desk for Rwanda and Burundi

Mr. Manoel DE ALMEIDA E SILVA, Advisor, Executive Office

Mr. Wilbert VAN HOVELL, Senior Legal Advisor

Representatives in the region:

Mr. Albert Alain PETERS, Representative, Kenya

Mr. Shelly PITTERMAN, Representative, Burundi

Mr. Romani URASA, Representative, Rwanda

Mr. Kolude DOHERTY, Representative, Tanzania

Mr. Hubert EDONGO, Regional Representative, Zaire and Central Africa

Mr. Abou MOUSSA, Representative, Zambia

[1] PRUNIER, Gerard. Burundi: a manageable crisis?, London, Writenet, 1994, pages 2-3. Prunier also notes: "...if these two countries are indeed twins, they are dissimilar twins, not identical ones.  And the fact is evident as soon as one looks at their pre-colonial history. Although the famous dual social structure of Tutsi and Hutu existed in Burundi, its nature and functioning were from the start somewhat different from the Rwandese case. While Rwanda grew from a royal centre which kept adding to its territory in a rather homogeneous fashion and carried out an iron-fisted centralization, Burundi grew in a more supple, more 'organic' sort of way".

[2] The mission was sent after the 1961 adoption by the General Assembly of "Good Offices" Resolution 1673 (XVI). The Branch Office in Bujumbura was the first UNHCR office to be opened in Africa.

[3] Rwandese refugees who left the country up to 1993 are often referred to as the "old caseload"; those who left after April 1994 are the "new caseload". The majority of the rural Rwandese refugees of the old caseload" repatriated spontaneously after the victory of the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF).There are 25,000 "old caseload" refugees still in Burundi who are expected to repatriate during 1995. Currently there are some 204,000 Rwandese refugees in Burundi, but with the expected voluntary repatriation of some 50,000, the Rwandese rural refugee caseload to be assisted by UNHCR will be reduced to 150,000 persons. Some 4,000 unaccompanied minors have been registered in the Rwandese refugee camps.

[4] Between 10 and 13 January 1995 UNHCR opened registration for Rwandese refugees wishing to repatriate. Only 1,000 registered and the reasons given for such a low number were the security incidents which had occurred a few days earlier in Gikongoro and Sake and which had prompted a new Rwandese refugee influx into Burundi.

[5] Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) are small-scale, sectoral, community-based rehabilitatrion/reintegration projects, aimed at providing rapid and effective assistance to communities receiving returnees or refugees in countries suffering from inadequate institutional capacity and an overal

[6] In his 12 August 1994 report on the situation of human rights in Rwanda (E/CN.4/1995/12), the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights noted that "...the overpopulation of Rwanda is one of the underlying causes of the armed conflict." According to Holborn (HOLBORN, Louise. Refugees: a problem of our time, Metuchen, N.J. Scarecrow Press, 1975), already in the early days of colonial rule, the Belgian Administration had transferred a number of Rwandese to the Zairean Kivu province in an attempt to ease the population density pressure in Rwanda.

[7] HOLBORN. Op. Cit. p. 979

[8] UNAMIR--United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda--was established at that time, on 5 October 1993, through Security Council resolution 872.

[9] E/CNA/1995/12 Op. Cit.

[10] Through the efforts of the Government of Rwanda and the support of many international agencies, some progress has been achieved toward rehabilitation. The airport has reopened, erratic electricity supply is now available in almost all major cities, and Kigali telephones lines are functioning. Some schools have reopened as well as the university in Butare. Health centres and hospitals are being rehabilitated. The National Bank is back in operation and the national currency has changed. Government offices have received material assistance to be able to function. More support is expected as a result of the Round Table on Rwanda, held in Geneva on 18-19 January 1995, when the Government appealed for US$764,136,000 dollars in order to: support the State's financing requirements; restore the State administration capabilities; resettle and reintegrate refugees and IDPs; rehabilitate the insfrastructure; revive production and environmental protection; and rehabilitate the social sector. By 30 January 1995, some US$ 580 mi

[11] The Tribunal was established by the Security Council on 8 November 1994 (S/RES/955 [19941) to "prosecute persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other such violations committed in the territory of neighbouring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December

[12] In a policy declaration issued at the Round Table on Rwanda held in Geneva on 18-19 January 1995, the Government of Rwanda stated: "Private property is guaranteed. It is the Government's intention to continue to settle disputes concerning the occupation of the property of others by, in particular, making it easier to acquire plots of land in towns and land available for growing crops in rural areas. Sites have been identified for the re

[13] This figure is comprised esentially of 75 per cent Rwandese and 25 per cent Burundi refugees. Interviews with new Rwandese arrivals indicate that they could be classified into three groups:

Rwandese fleeing Rwanda now, who sometimes claim they have tried to return to their villages from IDP camps in Rwanda;

Young males also coming from Rwanda who claim to have been harrassed for suspected membership of Interhamwe;

. refugees who are already registered in UNHCR camps in Burundi who claim to have been threatened by the Burundese Army or who are afraid that the prevailing instability in Burundi will spill over into refugee camps.

The Burundi new arrivals are predominantly composed of those who fled as a result of attacks on their villages.

There are also the "recyclers", as explained in paragraph 35.

[14] Through service packages, donor countries assumed responsibility for covering (totally or partially) sectoral needs of the humanitarian relief effort by making available personnel and material resources. The areas originally identified by UNHCR as in need of service packages were: airport services, logistics base services, road servicing and road security, site preparation, provision of domestic fuel, sanitation, water, management of the En

[15] Through a statement of its President on 30 November 1994, the Security Council condemned "the actions being taken by the former Rwandan leaders, and by former government forces and militias to prevent, in some cases by force, the repatriation of the refugees in the camps." The statement also condemned "the ongoing interference by these groups and individuals in the provision of humanitarian relief, and is deeply concerned that this interference has already led to the withdrawal of some non-governmental agencies responsible for the distribution of relief supplies within the ca

[16] UNICEF and UNHCR's approach in the sub-region is to encourage placing unaccompanied minors in refugee camps, as opposed to segregated centres or .orphanages", and to focus more actively on tracing and family

[17] There are close to 60 refugee camp sites in eastern Zaire. Their population size varies from 400 to 25,000 in South Kivu (30 camps in Bukavu and 25 camps in Uvira) and from 17,000 to 2

[18] The Delegation of Rwanda declared that the description "internally displaced persons" was no longer appropriate in relation to those living in camps in South-West Rwanda. The Delegation nevertheless accepts the principles and obligations in this PLAN OF ACTION with regard to these persons.

[19] Report of the Plenary of the 61st Ordinary Session of the OAU Council of Ministers.

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