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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Burundi

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Burundi is a State party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. It is also a party to the 1969 OAU Convention and has signed, but not yet ratified, the 2009 Kampala Convention. Burundi is party neither to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, nor to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. UNHCR will continue to work with the Government of Burundi for the country to accede to these two conventions and to address the risk of statelessness.

  • Burundi continues to be affected by the security situation in the region, which remains fragile, with instability prevailing in the Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is anticipated that by the beginning of 2014, Burundi will be hosting over 50,000 refugees, most from the DRC, and will also have close to 80,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).

  • In 2014-2015, it is anticipated that the Government will maintain its hospitality and provision of protection to refugees living in Burundi, and that it will continue to work in partnership with UNHCR and other organizations in ensuring access for refugees to basic services such as health and education.

  • The political situation in 2014 and 2015 will be marked by the general elections, which are due to take place in July and August 2015. Burundi is experiencing relatively low economic growth and high inflation rates. The country is ranked 178 out of 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index (UNDP).

People of concern

The main populations of concern planned for in 2014 in Burundi are: refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from the DRC; Burundian returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania), the DRC, Uganda and other countries, as well as former refugees who returned in 2013 and will be in need of continued reintegration support; people of Omani origin at risk of statelessness; and IDPs in need of durable solutions.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Burundi
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total in country of whom assisted
Total 141,750 141,750 121,560 121,560 108,910 108,910
Refugees Dem. Rep. of the Congo 50,000 50,000 60,000 60,000 72,000 72,000
Rwanda 450 450 500 500 600 600
Asylum-seekers Dem. Rep. of the Congo 6,400 6,400 5,600 5,600 4,200 4,200
Rwanda 200 200 100 100 50 50
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Burundi 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000 2,000 2,000
Internally displaced Burundi 77,200 77,200 47,860 47,860 28,560 28,560
Stateless Stateless 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,500

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In support of the Government, in 2014 UNHCR, together with partners, will focus on delivering protection and assistance to an estimated 50,450 refugees and 6,600 asylum-seekers. UNHCR will continue to provide basic services to refugees in camps and to seek durable solutions for their protracted situation. Enhancing livelihood activities will be at the centre of UNHCR's strategy to promote refugee self-reliance. The Office also plans to submit the 2,700 refugees for resettlement in 2014, and another 2,800 in 2015.

Protection monitoring and reintegration assistance will also be a continuing necessity for 6,000 Burundian refugees expected to return home by the end of 2013, mainly from Tanzania, the DRC and Uganda. Ensuring the successful reintegration of this group, as well as of some 33,000 Burundian returnees who came back from Mtabila camp in Tanzania following its closure at the end of 2012, will therefore remain a priority in 2014.

With regard to statelessness, UNHCR will continue to advocate for Burundi to accede to the two conventions relating to statelessness and will assist the Government in finding solutions for individuals of Omani origin living in Burundi who are at risk of statelessness.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR will also continue to support the Government of Burundi in finding a durable solution to the situation of approximately 77,200 Burundian IDPs, while advocating for the ratification of the Kampala Convention.

| Implementation |


UNHCR's main partners in Burundi will continue to be the Ministry of the Interior for refugee issues and the Ministry of National Solidarity for returnee-related matters. UNHCR works closely with WFP and UNICEF in the refugee camps.

Where the Office is operational, coordination meetings will continue to be organized at the provincial level. Provincial authorities, as well as development actors, will be engaged to assist in developing livelihood opportunities for returnees.

In pursuit of the 2011 Secretary-General's Policy Committee Decision on Durable Solutions for refugees and IDPs, UNHCR participates in the UN inter-agency response to this decision in Burundi.

2014 UNHCR partners in Burundi
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Commission Nationale des Terres et autres Biens, Ministère de la Sécurité Publique, Ministère de la Solidarité Nationale, des Droits de la Personne Humaine et du Genre, Ministère de l'Intérieur
NGOs: Africa Humanitarian Action, Avocats sans Frontières, Caritas - Burundi, Conseil pour l'Education et le Développement, Croix Rouge burundaise, Fédération Handicap International, International Rescue Committee, Ligue Iteka, Refugee Education Trust
Operational partners

| Financial information |

Over the past several years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Burundi have been allocated to two major programmes: return and reintegration assistance for Burundian returnees; and protection and assistance for refugees, mainly originating from the DRC.

The financial requirements for 2012 had accounted for the needs resulting from the anticipated closure of Mtabila camp in Tanzania, voluntary repatriation movements from and to the DRC and other countries, and reintegration needs for returnees in general.

In 2013, while a new influx of refugees from the DRC led to the opening of a fourth camp, the revised financial requirements have remained relatively stable with a slight increase to USD 31.5 million.

The 2014 financial requirements for the operation are set at USD 25.1 million, a decrease from the revised 2013 budget due to the completion of returns from Mtabila camp in Tanzania.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105



Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Burundi [1]
Refugees [2] 45,490
Asylum Seekers [3] 6,045
Returned Refugees [4] 2,126
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 78,948
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 1,302
Various [8] 463
Total Population of Concern 134,374
Originating from Burundi [1]
Refugees [2] 72,652
Asylum Seekers [3] 14,274
Returned Refugees [4] 2,126
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 78,948
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 162,259
Total Population of Concern 330,259
Government Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2000
2014 0
2013 0
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 778
2008 0
2007 1,086
2006 1,210
2005 351
2004 0
2003 0
2002 0
2001 0
2000 0

Burundi UNHCR Fundraising Reports Rss FeedUNHCR Fundraising Reports

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Burundi UNHCR Maps Rss FeedUNHCR Maps

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The Nansen Refugee Award 2005

Burundian humanitarian worker Maggy Barankitse received the 2005 Nansen Refugee Award for her tireless work on behalf of children affected by war, poverty and disease. The Nansen medal was presented at a grand ceremony in Brussels by H.R.H. Princess Mathilde of Belgium and UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin.

Accepting the award, Barankitse said her work was inspired by one single goal: peace. "Accept your fellow man, sit down together, make this world a world of brothers and sisters," she said. "Nothing resists love, that's the message that I want to spread."

Sponsored by UNHCR corporate partner Microsoft, the ceremony and reception at Concert Noble was also attended by Belgium's Minister for Development Co-operation Armand De Decker, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel, renowned Burundian singer Khadja Nin, Congolese refugee and comedian Pie Tshibanda, and French singer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Julien Clerc. Among others.

The Nansen Refugee Award 2005

A fresh start; Burundian former refugees begin a new chapter in their lives

Since the end of October more than 26,000 Burundian former refugees have been assisted by UNHCR and its partners to return home from the Mtabila camp in northwest Tanzania. The operation is organized with the Government of Tanzania to help some 35,500 Burundian former refugees go back to Burundi by the end of 2012, when the Mtabila camp officially closes.

Refugee status for most Burundians in Tanzania formally ended in August following individual interviews to assess remaining protection needs. A total of 2,715 people will continue to be hosted as refugees in Tanzania, while the rest, the last of a population of refugees who left Burundi some 20 years ago, must return home. This is not an easy move after having spent most of your life -- and sometimes all of it -- in exile.

While awaiting their turn to join one of the daily convoys to bring them home, Burundian former refugees are preparing themselves for a fresh start…

A fresh start; Burundian former refugees begin a new chapter in their lives

Photo Gallery: The Challenge of Forced Displacement in Africa

Africa is the continent most affected by the tragedy of forced displacement. While millions of refugees were able to return to Angola, Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda and South Sudan over the last 15 years, the numbers of internally displaced people continued to grow. At the beginning of 2009, in addition to some 2.3 million refugees, an estimated 11.6 million people were internally displaced by conflict in Africa.

To address forced displacement on the continent, the African Union is organizing a special summit on refugees, returnees and internally displaced people from October 19-23 in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Heads of state and government will look at the challenges and at ways to find solutions to forced displacement. They are also expected to adopt a Convention for the protection and assistance of internally displaced people (IDP) in Africa, which would be the first legally binding instrument on internal displacement with a continental scope. This photo gallery looks at some of the forcibly displaced around Africa, many of whom are helped by UNHCR.

Photo Gallery: The Challenge of Forced Displacement in Africa

Burundi: Finding Our PlacePlay video

Burundi: Finding Our Place

More than 75,000 Burundian refugees have returned home this year. One of the biggest challenges they face in restarting their lives is finding a place to live.