Thousands head home voluntarily from Zambia to DR Congo  

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Nearly 5,000 refugees who fled unit successful the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 4 years ago, are opting to caput location voluntarily from Zambia implicit the coming months, with the archetypal 100 radical mounting retired connected Tuesday. 

The UN exile agency, UNHCR, said that security had improved sufficiently in DR Congo’s Pweto territory, Haut-Katanga province, for them to spell location “in information and dignity”.

Inter-ethnic clashes arsenic good arsenic warring betwixt Congolese information forces and militia groups successful parts of southeastern DRC in 2017, have uprooted communities. 

Through volition surveys carried retired successful October by UNHCR, immoderate 4,774 refugees expressed their purpose to voluntarily instrumentality to DRC.

International agreement

The voluntary repatriation, which volition proceed into 2022, is portion of the ongoing 2006 tripartite statement betwixt UNHCR and the Governments of Zambia and DR Congo.

Partners are supporting the returning refugees by providing voluntary repatriation documents, expedited migration clearance, wellness screening and schoolhouse certificates to let children to resume their acquisition successful the DRC.

“As information has improved successful immoderate areas of Haut-Katanga, an estimated 20,000 refugees person spontaneously near Zambia since 2018 to instrumentality to their areas of root – chiefly to Pweto territory”, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists successful Geneva.

Meanwhile, the UN exile bureau is moving with authorities and improvement partners – specified arsenic Catholic aid confederation CARITAS – successful DRC to beforehand reintegration projects, including education, wellness and agriculture, and to guarantee conditions for harmless and dignified returns.

Currently, immoderate 18,000 Congolese refugees workplace astatine Mantapala colony – established successful aboriginal 2018 to accommodate displaced radical – alongside 5,000 Zambians, crossed 11 integrated villages.

As Zambia continues to big 103,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and erstwhile refugees, including much than 63,000 from DR Congo, implicit the past 3 years around 20,000 Congolese have left to instrumentality home.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP) are assisting successful repatriation efforts.

Agency support

The 2 agencies person provided buses and trucks to assistance transport refugees, their belongings and nutrient for the journey, Families volition person a currency assistance to assistance them prime up their lives again successful the DRC.

“UNHCR volition disinfect the buses, supply look masks, manus sanitizers and, unneurotic with the authorities, guarantee that COVID-19 prevention measures are observed, including loading of buses to fractional the capacity”, Mr. Baloch said.

UNICEF has improved h2o and sanitation facilities astatine the reception centre successful Chiengi district, wherever returning refugees are being housed for the nighttime to process migration documents, earlier embarking connected the last limb of their travel home.

And Zambian authorities are providing accelerated COVID-19 tests for the returning refugees, astatine the Mantapala Rural Health Centre.


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