Fifty D.R.C Refugees in South Africa Voluntarily Return Home

Fifty DRC Refugees in South Africa Voluntarily Return Home (News Central TV)

South Africa’s Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday welcomed the voluntary repatriation of 49 out of 400 refugees who have expressed a desire to return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The repatriation was in collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The ministry and the agency said individual reviews carried out by the UNHCR have ensured that returns are voluntary, and that the refugees will return safely and with dignity.

Motsoaledi and Gillian Triggs, assistant high commissioner for protection for the UNHCR, met in January to review and take forward the strategic approaches to the management of asylum and refugees in SA.

After a high-level bilateral meeting in January,Motsoaledi explained that it was collaborating with the UNHCR to implement the outcome of earlier agreements.

Facilitating voluntary repatriation, which includes countries of origin taking responsibility for their nationals by facilitating their arrival home, was one of the key outcomes of the meeting.

“Progressive partnerships will help us to resolve some of the challenges around the international protection afforded to vulnerable people.

“The voluntary repatriation process is also an example of how personal circumstances of vulnerable people can change to an extent that they can return to their home countries when the conditions allow,” Motsoaledi said.

Valentin Tapsoba, UNHCR’s regional bureau director for Southern Africa, said it was grateful to South Africa for its generosity in providing sanctuary to people fleeing violence, persecution and human rights abuses and for supporting this group of Congolese refugees to safely go home.

However, the department and UNHCR said more support is needed to achieve sustainable reintegration for those returning, as well as for the communities receiving them. The UNHCR expects to repatriate up to 400 refugees from South Africa in 2022, up from 275 last year.


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