2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Rwanda
Rwanda enjoys a relatively stable political environment, but the country has felt the reverberations of the violence in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Violent clashes fuelled by ethnic tensions and conflicts over land in the DRC's North and South Kivu provinces at the start of 2012 had by September pushed some 20,000 new refugees into Rwanda.
Of the new arrivals, more than 14,000 have been relocated to a newly established camp in Kigeme. Another 6,000 have either returned of their own accord to the DRC or become part of the Rwandan communities along the border, leaving only a few individuals still in the Nkamira transit centre awaiting their transfer to the camp in Kigeme.
In addition to the new arrivals, Rwanda hosts another 43,000 refugees, more than 99 per cent of whom are also from the DRC. The majority of these refugees live in three camps, in Gihembe, Kiziba and Nyabiheke, with a small number residing in the capital, Kigali. This brings the total of refugees and asylum-seekers in Rwanda to more than 57,600. The worsening security situation in the DRC limits these refugees' prospects for return.
On 31 December, 2011, UNHCR issued a memorandum on the implementation of the comprehensive strategy for the Rwandan refugee situation. The key recommendations were that States progressively implement all aspects of cessation of refugee status (including exemption procedures) for Rwandan refugees who had fled Rwanda up to and during the year 1998. The aim is to close the book on the Rwandan refugee situation by June 2013 at the latest.
UNHCR has been assisting the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees, and looking for solutions for those who may not be able to return. For its part, the Government of Rwanda continues advocating for Rwandan refugees in neighbouring countries to return home voluntarily. It is also seeking to implement tripartite agreements with the various countries hosting Rwandan refugees. In 2011, some 7,600 Rwandan refugees, mainly from the DRC, returned home with UNHCR's assistance. In 2012, by end of August more than 8,000 Rwandans had returned.
Refugee households in Rwanda remain highly dependent on the protection and assistance provided by UNHCR. The lack of land (including for agriculture) and income-generating activities, limits on access to education and low skill levels all hinder self-reliance. Harsh living conditions in the camps are exacerbated by poor soil, erosion-prone hillsides, inclement weather and crowded shelters. The lack of cultivable land around the camps makes it impossible for refugees to supplement their food rations by growing their own food.
The average area per refugee for the old camps is 16.2 square metres, significantly lower than the standard of 45 square metres. With the camp populations growing by some 30 births a month, sanitation and hygiene problems have arisen. Such substandard conditions have far-reaching consequences, providing fertile ground for sexual and gender-related violence (SGBV), HIV and AIDS, early pregnancies and high school-dropout rates for girls, prostitution and survival sex, and psychosocial risks for children and other vulnerable individuals. The site for the new camp in Kigeme is hilly and requires costly land preparation. Terracing and construction of drainage canals will be carried out to avoid landslides during the rainy season, and to make it suitable to host an estimated 25,000 arrivals by the end of 2012. Essential and basic services, such as water (now at a rate of 8 litres per person per day), sanitation and health facilities meeting UNHCR standards, are urgently needed for the new camp.
All camp-based refugees receive food assistance, even though the standard of 2,100 kcal per day is not always met due to temporary shortages of some food items. Water supplies are variable. Indeed, while supplies are tight in Gihembe and Nyabiheke camps, where they range from 7-14 litres per person per day, in Kiziba residents get more than 20 litres per person per day.
Returnees to Rwanda receive three-month food rations as well as basic non-food items (NFIs) before proceeding to their districts of origin. Between the beginning of 2012 and the end of August, more than 8,000 returnees had been received and assisted by UNHCR.
However, in order to sustain their reintegration there is also a need for skills training, income-generation and livelihood activities. Returnees face extreme poverty and a lack of land, shelter and medical coverage. There are few job opportunities, and many have to walk long distances in search of water.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for Rwanda|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|Others of concern||DRC||70||70||70||70|
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Fair protection processes and documentation
Registration and the provision of civil-status documentation are improved.
All children under 12 months of age are registered.
All people of concern have birth certificates issued by the authorities.
The provision of individual documentation is increased.
All people of concern have valid identity documents.
Security from violence and exploitation
The risk of gender-based violence is reduced and the quality of the response to it is improved.
Some 90 per cent of known victims of SGBV receive support.
The protection of children is strengthened.
All out-of-school adolescents participate in targeted programmes.
A best interest determination (BID) process has been initiated or completed for all unaccompanied and separated children.
Basic needs and essential services
Shelter and infrastructure are established, improved and maintained.
Some 95 per cent of households live in adequate dwellings.
The supply of potable water is increased or maintained.
An average of 20 litres of potable water per person per day is made available.
The population lives in sufficiently sanitary and hygienic conditions.
All camp-based refugees have adequate sanitation.
The population has optimal access to education.
Some 20,000 refugees, or all those of concern aged 6-11, are enrolled in primary school.
The health of the population of concern is improved.
The under-5 mortality rate is no more than 1 per 1,000 people per month.
The nutritional well-being of people of concern is improved.
The prevalence of global acute malnutrition among children aged 6-59 months is kept below 5 per cent in all camps.
The potential for resettlement is realized.
Some 2,400 individuals, out of an estimated 13,000 identified, are submitted for resettlement.
All identified individuals whose cases are submitted depart for resettlement.
Strategy and activities in 2013
In line with the Global Strategic Priorities, the goal of UNHCR in Rwanda is to improve the well-being of refugees, asylum-seekers and returnees through the provision of basic needs and essential services. The construction of a new refugee camp in Kigeme, which began in 2012, will continue in 2013 and provide basic services and facilities that meet UNHCR's standards. Furthermore, UNHCR will improve child protection by providing secondary school education, preventing and addressing SGBV, and developing skills training and self-reliance projects for refugees.
Voluntary repatriation will be facilitated, depending on the security situation in the DRC. However, owing to the political instability in the Great Lakes Region, voluntary repatriation on a large scale is not envisaged in 2013. Other durable solutions such as local integration and resettlement will also be pursued, despite their limited prospects. Resettlement will also be used as a protection tool for vulnerable refugees and refugees identified as having limited or no prospects for local integration after more than 14 years in Rwanda.
UNHCR will maintain partnerships with other humanitarian agencies and facilitate the reintegration of Rwandan returnees by monitoring the returnees and the implementation of the joint UNHCR/UN Country Team multi-year reintegration programme.
Communications with countries of asylum on protection-related issues affecting returnees will be improved. UNHCR will also ensure that the needs of all people of concern are reflected in the next United Nations Development Assistance Framework, covering the period 2013-2017.
The growth of the refugee population due to the birthrate and the absence of voluntary repatriation to the DRC have led to congestion in the camps.
The scarcity of land around the camps hampers efforts to expand them in order to improve living conditions. Moreover, the lack of land for agricultural purposes deprives the refugees of livelihood opportunities, hinders their efforts at self-sufficiency and hampers their prospects for local integration. Preparing the land for the new camp in Kigeme so that it is stable and less prone to landslides will be particularly costly.
Organization and implementation
UNHCR works with the Government of Rwanda and several international NGOs in the country. It collaborates with WFP to provide food rations in the camps and transit centres and with UNICEF on child protection. New operational and implementing partners have come on board as a result of the emergency in 2012.
UNHCR's comprehensive budget for Rwanda for 2013 amounts to USD 29.8 million. It will be further reviewed to address additional needs related to the emergency in eastern DRC, which could not be assessed at the time this budget was approved.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update