Rwanda Refugees In Zimbabwe Refuse Repatriation

The refugees said Rwanda is not yet safe for them to return.

The Rwandans have also accused the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Harare for working in cahoots with the Kigali government to force them to return.

The UNHCR has cleared Rwanda as safe for refugees to return.

Last week the Zimbabwean government said it hopes to repatriate all Rwandans by December 2011.

Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare Paurina Mpariwa said on World Refugees’ Day: “We are doing the best we can to ensure the provision of shelter, water sanitation and shelter. Like any other country in the region, Zimbabwe will soon embark on repatriation of Rwandan refugees by December 31 2011.”

But Joseph Habineza, a Rwandan refugee at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge said recent events in Rwanda were clear for anybody to see the country was not safe.

The majority of the Rwandans stay at Tomgogara Refugee Camp.

Habineza said: “Just look at how Kagame is arresting and killing opponents. Returning refugees are being arrested or killed. We will not go back.”

He said a former top army general who has fled to South Africa was almost murdered and a journalist shot and killed outside his Kigali home.

“All these incidents can tell you Rwanda is not safe,” Habineza said.

Human Rights Watch, an international human rights watchdog, has accused Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame of human rights abuses in the run up to a presidential poll next month. Kagame has rubbished the claims.

 The Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe have also written to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government informing them of their unwillingness to return to Rwanda.

They accused the UNHCR of collaborating with the regime in Kigali in hatching “a plan to kidnap” and forcefully repatriate them.