Thousands of Burundian refugees are under mounting pressure to return to their country where they would be at risk of death, rape and torture, said Amnesty International in a report out today.
Conform or flee: Repression and insecurity pushing Burundians into exile launches after two East African countries stopped automatically granting refugee status to Burundian asylum seekers. Tanzania stopped in January, and Uganda in June this year.
The Burundi government has been pressing refugees to return. On a visit to Tanzania in July – his first foreign visit since a coup against him failed two years ago – Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza called on the more than 240,000 refugees there to return home. His comments were echoed by President John Magufuli of Tanzania. Other senior Burundian officials have taken the same message to Uganda’s refugee settlements.
“While the Burundian government says all is well and urges refugees to return, more Burundians continue to flee the country due to repression and insecurity,” said Rachel Nicholson, Amnesty International’s Burundi researcher.