Tanzania is pressing Burundi refugees to leave, says report

December 12, 2019 GMT

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Human Rights Watch says tens of thousands of Burundian refugees face mounting pressure to involuntarily leave Tanzania amid efforts by authorities there to reduce the number of Burundians in the country.

The rights group in a statement Thursday charged that the fear of violence, arrest and deportation from Tanzania is driving many of the 163,000 Burundians out of the country. Some of the refugees have since sought shelter in neighboring Uganda.

Burundi fell into instability in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term. The election was marked by violence and allegations of rigging. Nearly 350,000 of Burundi’s 11 million people fled.


Tanzanian authorities have expressed frustration over what they say is the U.N.’s slow pace in repatriating refugees back to Burundi. More than 70,000 refugees have returned to Burundi since December 2017, and rights groups say it is hard to tell how many of those returned voluntarily.