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Rwanda to Put Embargo on Congo Refugees with Illegal National Identification, Minister

Rwanda is planning to put some strict restrictions on Congolese nationals and also carry out an inspection to find out and get whoever that owns the Rwanda National ID’s in an illegal manner since this act puts at risk the privileges of refugees.

Over 1,500 Congolese refugees live in Kigeme camp.

Under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) guidelines, refugees are supposed to get registered and acquire a refugee identity card that offers them refugee status in order to get full basic needs such as food, shelter, medical and security, as people without legal places of settlement should be treated.

According to the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMARA), Seraphine Mukantabana, in a few days ago, said before the parliament that the ministry has requested the refugees to hand in their the Rwanda Identification cards they attained illegally, but they declined and some falsely claim to have lost them.

“They (refugees) acquired these identifications illegally. We are going to start an investigation into those possessing the IDs and their refugee status will be revoked and we will send them back to their countries.” Ms Mukantabana said.

The minister also said that even those refugees that still own DRC’s national ID’s will also be dealt with because as the Rwandan government, we are confused whether they belong to Congolese government or Rwandan government.

“No one is allowed to own more than two national different Identity cards, may be if they are rebels or want to be robbers.” She explained.

However, the Rwandan parliament on refugee’s status 2014/15 also released a report which indicates that some Congolese refugees managed to illegally acquire Rwandan IDs and whereas some still hold on to their Congolese National IDs which they use to benefit from government services and even travel back and forth respectively.

The case that we have on our desk, indicate that majorly those Congolese refugees who live in places of Kigeme camp, Nyamagabe district in the Southern province are the ones that have such cases of possessing Rwanda National ID’s in illegal means.
Kigeme camp is the oldest camp in the country that also accommodates many Congolese refugees located on the highway between Butare and Cyangugu.

She also indicated that part of the over 74,000 Congolese refugees who live in the camps of Kigeme, Gihembe, Nyabiheke, Kiziba and Nkamira heve illegal Rwanda ID’s.

It is believed that the Congolese refugees got access to the Rwandan ID’s using some their extended families in the Rwandan community, who were part of former Rwandan refugees returning to Rwanda and had settled in.

Double standards.

While some of these former refugees have been integrated into Rwandan communities, others still live in contrasting principles as refugees in camps and use the identification for other purposes.

A report presented to parliament indicated that some of the refugees were using both the Rwandan national identification and the UNHCR IDs and were benefiting from both the government and the UN agency support.

Even Congolese refugees in Gihembe Refugee Camp in Gicumbi District are said to be having Rwanda national ID’s illegally.

It has not been clear whether the refugees have managed to use the Rwandan national IDs for illegal practices but the some of the benefits of possessing the cards include access to government services such as acquiring driving permits, health services and education among others.

Byabarumwanzi François, the chairman of the parliamentary commission of unity, human-rights and fight against genocide said that there is evidence that the Congolese refugees move back to their home country and do business as usual and come back to Rwanda to benefit from their refugee status.

More so, The Rwanda UNHCR communications office announced that it wasn’t informed of the developments but said that the ministry would be in position to explain the details. The UNHCR said that it does not confiscate a refugee’s identity documents from the country of origin when registering an individual.

By Robert Muriisa.

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Ibitekerezo

just - 26/03/2016 saa 18:19

Aliko koko Ubundi izi mpunzi zaba Congomani zikora iki murwanda ?? kuki urwanda Congo na HCR BADASHAKIRA UMUTI IKIBAZO CYIZI MPUNZI ??? Congo ni nini , babashakiye aho babatuza munkambi muli Congo iwabo noneho abasilikali 23.000 ba ONU barya ayubusa bamaze imyaka 20 yose bakabalindira umutekano mugihugu cyabo ko ali nabwo ikibazo cyabo cyakumvikana !!
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