The Government of Rwanda has handed over 129 Congolese refugees living in Rwanda to Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Those refugees were received at “Grande-barrier” border in Rubavu District by DRC high government officials represented by Mr. Julien Paluku, the Governor of North Kivu Province.
The refugees who had fled the country last July when fighting between FARDC and the M23 rebels resumed were repatriated on August 13, 2013.
The voluntary repatriation came after negotiations between the UN High Commission for Refugees, Rwanda and Congolese government.
They entered to Rwanda through Busasamana border in Rubavu District. On July 30, 2013, they tried to return to their country through Grande-Barrier border, but it was not possible due to some immigration regulations.
They were taken in Nkamira Transit Center as negotiations were ongoing between the two governments and UNHCR, to organize a smooth repatriation.
Julien Paluku, the Governor of the North Kivu Province of DRC who came with other government officials to receive their compatriots commended the Government of Rwanda for having hosted them and facilitated their repatriation.
On the behalf of the Government of Rwanda, Capt. Kayitana Jean Damascene, the Advisor to Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs said that, Rwanda will continue to support all initiatives meant to bring peace in DRC so that thousands of Congolese refugees can also return home.
“We have handed over those who requested to return, and we cannot force others to go back, as long as they have fear of persisting insecurity in the DRC regions they came from.
We are ready to facilitate voluntary repatriation of DRC refugees when peace and security are restored in DRC,” said Kayitana
Currently, Rwanda hosts around 70,000 Congolese refugees who fled their country due to insecurity.