Rwanda: Refugee Report, 10/25/'95

Rwanda: Refugee Report, 10/25/'95

Rwanda: Refugee Report, part 1
Date Distributed (ymd): 951109

The following are excerpts from the most recent report from the U.S. Committee for Refugees, based on visits to Rwanda and eastern Zaire in September and October. The full report is available from USCR, 1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #701, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: (202) 347-3507; fax: (202) 347- 3418.

Rwandan Refugees: Updated Findings and Recommendations October 25, 1995 Site Visit Notes by Jeff Drumtra, USCR

Goma Refugee Camps

* Zaire gives mixed signals about the seriousness of its threat to expel all refugees by year's end.

Zaire expelled 13,000 refugees in August and insists that its December 31 deadline is serious. During USCR's site visit, Zairean officials were verbally pressuring the refugee population by announcing restrictions on refugee employment and housing outside the camps. By all accounts, average Zaireans in the area are increasingly discontented with the refugees presence. At its recent Tripartite Meeting with Rwanda and UNHCR [UN High Commission for Refugees], Zaire indicated its readiness to arrest former Rwandan leaders who are impeding repatriation. ...

On the other hand, Zaire has rarely implemented similar threats. ... Zaire's forcible expulsion in August conspicuously did not target the former Rwandan military (FAR), militia members, or other leaders who impede refugee repatriation. ...

Important individuals in Zaire's government, armed services, and economy benefit from the refugees presence. Many observers suspect Zaire's expulsion threat is little more than an attempt by Mobutu to extract political and financial concessions from the international community on other matters.

Zaire's ultimate actions toward the refugees will depend on internal Zairean politics and the complicated power struggles among the country's civilian authorities as well as among competing branches of the police and military. ...

Recommendation #1 Take seriously the Zaire government s threat to forcibly expel all refugees by the end of 1995.

Given the chaos and probable violence that massive forcible repatriation would trigger inside Rwanda, the world cannot afford to shrug off Zaire's expulsion threat, despite uncertainty about the threat's validity. Relief agencies and international diplomats would be wise to assume that forcible expulsion is likely to occur and should pursue strategies to avert it or alleviate its destabilizing impact inside Rwanda. ...

Recommendation #2 UNHCR should encourage larger voluntary repatriation in an effort to preempt precipitous action by Zairean authorities.

UNHCR officials in Goma and Rwanda believe that a steady, organized flow of about 6,000 voluntary repatriations per day would mollify Zairean officials and avert massive forcible expulsion. [This] is an ambitious goal and would carry its own risks inside Rwanda, given the traumatized nature of Rwandan society and the limited capacities of the Rwandan government. These inherent risks, however, are preferable to the destabilizing effects of a sudden, massive, forced repatriation of a half-million or more in less than a week. ... The question is whether UNHCR can stimulate 6,000 voluntary repatriations per day. Thus far, UNHCR is far short of its goal.

* UNHCR/Goma is attempting to pursue a get-tough strategy toward Rwandan refugees.

... UNHCR/Goma's strategy is to make conditions in the refugee camps more difficult in order to persuade more refugees go home voluntarily. ... Few of the get-tough actions had actually been implemented at the time of USCR s site visit.

Recommendation #3 Take aggressive steps in refugee camps to promote voluntary repatriation.

The aggressive repatriation strategy of UNHCR/Goma is a reasonable strategy under the circumstances. USCR supports this approach, if it is implemented properly. Refugees would continue to receive essential services that often surpass the services available to indigenous Zaireans. ...

Recommendation #4 UNHCR/Goma should clearly explain its aggressive repatriation strategy to NGOs working in Goma refugee camps. NGOs should cooperate with UNHCR's strategy.

Many NGOs operating in Goma appear to be confused about UNHCR's aggressive repatriation strategy. Some who understand the strategy apparently oppose it. Some NGOs, for example, continue camp improvement projects and resist UNHCR pressure to curtail the hiring of refugee employees. ...

The level of distrust between UNHCR/Goma and many NGOs could potentially undermine UNHCR's repatriation strategy by sending contradictory messages to the refugee community. ...

Recommendation #5 More NGOs in Goma should make a concerted effort to eliminate suspected murderers from their payrolls.

Some relief agencies make a good-faith effort to screen their refugee employees to eliminate undesirables. Too many international NGOs in Goma, however, continue to employ Rwandan individuals who are strongly suspected of participating in last year's mass murder. This is ethically unacceptable. Relief agencies should make a good-faith effort to screen their camp employees in order to ensure that the employees are drawn from the hundreds of thousands of innocent Rwandan refugees. ...

Recommendation #6 NGOs should provide a proper historical orientation to new expatriate staff working in the Rwanda region. ...

Given the short-term contracts and rapid staff rotations common in overseas relief work, many NGO staff in Goma and in Rwanda are new to the region and lack a full understanding of the historical and political context in which they are working. ...

USCR recommends the African Rights report, Rwanda: Death, Despair and Defiance, as obligatory reading for any individual or organization attempting to play a constructive role in the Rwanda region. The report can be purchased from African Rights in London. Phone 011-171-717-1224; fax 011- 171-717-1240. ...

* There are six repatriation scenarios for refugees in Zaire. All scenarios are problematic. ...

First, aggressive voluntary repatriation. UNHCR's aggressive voluntary repatriation strategy could persuade several hundred thousand refugees to return home, at a rate of 20,000 to 40,000 per week. This would presumably be the most organized and most stabilizing method of repatriation. Even this rate of return, however, would test Rwandan society.

Secondly, forcible repatriation-by-expulsion, known in international refugee law as refoulement. Zaire might execute its threat to forcibly expel all one million refugees. This sudden uncontrolled flood of humanity would create chaos inside Rwanda, leading to a humanitarian emergency, human rights problems, land conflicts beyond the capacity to respond, and probably a more vigorous armed insurgency by FAR [the army of the former regime].

Thirdly, incremental refoulement. Zaire might engage in incremental forcible repatriation-- intermittent raids on camps to push tens of thousands across the border at a time, without removing the entire refugee population.

Fourthly, repatriation invasion. The exiled Rwandan regime might direct all refugees to march home in a human wave ... This would likely provoke violence that would quickly get out of hand. ...

Fifthly, incremental repatriation invasion. The exiled regime might choose to instigate limited voluntary repatriation by specific communes. ...

Sixthly, status quo negligible repatriation. Perhaps UNHCR s aggressive voluntary repatriation strategy will fail. Perhaps Zairean authorities will ignore their own repatriation ultimatum to the refugees. Perhaps international donors will continue to fund camps in Zaire at a cost of $1 million per day. This scenario would prolong the overall crisis with no sign of progress, maintain the power base of a genocidal regime, and sustain regional instability.

Recommendation #7 Organized voluntary repatriation is the preferred option. It can only be stimulated by aggressive tactics.

It should be acknowledged that this option has drawbacks. ... If the strategy successfully stimulates repatriation, it will likely provoke new problems inside Rwanda ... These concerns, however, are more acceptable than other, more dangerous options outlined above. ...

* Many Rwandan refugees in Zaire now openly consider the prospects for repatriation. This is a significant change.

Zaire's forcible expulsion exercise in August and its threat to expel all refugees in the near future have changed camp dynamics. More refugees now discuss openly the pros and cons of returning to Rwanda, and are more openly inquisitive about conditions there. ... This change in mindset, however, has not yet produced more voluntary repatriation.

* The refugee population is not monolithic. At least four mindsets exist about repatriation.

The refugees fled to Zaire together last year and have remained in Zaire together for more than a year. It is therefore easy for outsiders to mistakenly assume that the refugee population is monolithic in thought as well as in deed. It is not, particularly in recent months.

One group in the camps are criminals, guilty of participating in last year's genocide. As criminals, they are not bona-fide refugees under international law and should not be treated as such. Given their own guilt, they will probably choose never to participate in any repatriation program. A reasonable estimate is that 250,000 to 500,000 Rwandans in Zaire and Tanzania may never repatriate, due to their guilt or their family ties to a guilty individual.

A second group are hardliners who are not guilty of genocide. They are, however, vehemently opposed to the RPA [army of the current Rwanda government] and believe all propaganda disseminated by the exiled genocide leaders.

A third group are average refugees who are only now beginning to consider repatriation. They tend to trust--or at least follow--their extremist leaders, but are now less sure. ... They are desperate, confused, and believe their future on either side of the border is bleak. They are unprepared to repatriate voluntarily at this time. This appears to be the largest of the four groups.

A fourth group are refugees who apparently have decided they want to repatriate, but are not confident to do so on their own. They often have their own sources of information about conditions in Rwanda. Therefore they suspect that negative propaganda in the camps exaggerates the risks of return. Others in this group believe the risks are great, but they are ready to take their chances. Some are awaiting updated information about their home areas. Some are waiting for an opportune moment to leave the camps.

Recommendation #8 Refugees who are actively considering repatriation should be targeted by UNHCR and the international community.

The right strategies and tactics could peel away tens of thousands of refugees who fall into the fourth group, described above ... They need accurate information before taking action. ...

* Overt intimidation in refugee camps has diminished. Psychological intimidation via propaganda remains strong and sophisticated.

... The exiled regime and its militia maintain control over the refugees through relentless propaganda about the allegedly certain death that awaits returnees to Rwanda. The core message to refugees used to be, We will kill you if you try to repatriate ; the message now is, They will kill you in Rwanda if you try to repatriate. ...

Actual incidents such as the RPA massacre of 110 persons at Kanama in September, overcrowding of jails, etc., are widely publicized along with false atrocities. Immediately after the forcible repatriation in August, camp propaganda inaccurately reported that large numbers of the returnees were killed or tortured in Rwanda. ... Many NGO workers in the camps are susceptible to the propaganda as well, because they often lack alternative channels of information about events in Rwanda. ...

* Refugees do have several valid concerns about returning to Rwanda. Not all fears are due to propaganda misinformation.

Although many refugees worst fears are without basis, some fears are valid. Refugees are well- informed about Rwanda s overcrowded prisons. They have legitimate concerns that a wrongful arrest could be fatal due to appalling prison conditions. They also have reasonable concerns about how quickly they can reclaim their land if squatters refuse to vacate.

Refugees fears regarding land disputes are often greater than their concerns about security, some relief workers told USCR. In other words, widespread fear and confusion about the land adjudication system may be the most significant deterrent to repatriation, in many cases.

Recommendation #10 Launch a sophisticated and relentless mass information campaign to give refugees a fuller picture of conditions in Rwanda. ...

UNHCR, the entire UN system, and NGOs in the region should coordinate an aggressive campaign to provide refugees with accurate information on a sustained basis. Distributing weekly bulletins in refugee camps or holding monthly meetings with refugees are insufficient tactics. Information should be provided daily, hourly, in a relentless fashion, about conditions in Rwanda, development projects underway, activities of returnees, etc. ... Specific recommendations follow ...

Recommendation #11 Increase direct contact between Rwandan government officials and Rwandan refugees. ...

Recommendation #12 Provide detailed information to refugees about Rwanda's justice system, including procedures for arrest and detention.

Refugees are acutely aware that arrests and detentions occur in Rwanda. From their perspective in the camps, all arrests and detentions appear to be arbitrary and more pervasive than they actually are. The refugees need to be told repeatedly that a justice process does exist, and exactly how it works. Individuals released from detention for wrongful arrest should be interviewed on radio to explain the process in their own words.

Recommendation #13 Provide detailed information about the human rights situation in Rwanda.

The UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda, UNAMIR, and UNHCR protection officers routinely collect massive amounts of data on security and human rights conditions throughout Rwanda. Little of this information reaches the people who need it most--the 1.8 million Rwandan refugees who crave accurate information. The best customers for this information are not getting it.

Information about security in Rwanda should be provided to refugees and relief workers in the camps on a daily basis ... The information should highlight where problems exist in Rwanda, but should also highlight where the security situation is calm. ...

Recommendation #14 Provide detailed information describing how refugees reclaim their land if it is occupied upon their return.

The government of Rwanda has said repeatedly that refugees retain ownership of their land. To the extent this message has reached refugees, it is still insufficient information. Refugees want to know how the policy is being implemented. They want to know, in detail, exactly where they should file a claim if their land is occupied by squatters upon their return. They want to know how long the process requires them to wait before they can regain possession of their occupied land and homes. They want to know what temporary accommodations and other security are available while they await their land. Refugees interested in repatriating hesitate to make a final decision because they cannot find answers to these detailed questions.

An information campaign on radio and via camp meetings should provide this information repeatedly. In addition, refugees need to hear the first-hand stories of returnees who have regained their land.

Recommendation #15 Enable more refugees to conduct go- and-see visits to Rwanda to collect first- hand information about conditions.

... Information-collection visits are a basic tool proven effective in facilitating refugee repatriations around the world. Rwandan refugees have been unable to make such scouting trips regularly due to restrictions by Rwandan and Zairean authorities.

Recommendation #16 The Rwandan government and RPA should allow personal letters to pass unimpeded between refugee camps and the interior of Rwanda.

The Rwandan government and RPA should allow private letters to pass easily between refugee camps and the interior of Rwanda. Currently such mail is screened and, at times, confiscated by Rwandan authorities. The benefits of allowing information to cross the border outweigh the Rwandan government's security concerns. ...

Recommendation #17 Provide intensive information on alternative radio broadcasts into the Goma camps. ...

Recommendation #18 NGOs in Goma should enhance their ability to provide information to refugees. NGOs should regard aggressive information dissemination as a core responsibility.

Private relief agencies operating in Goma and in Rwanda have a crucial role to play in giving refugees accurate information about conditions in Rwanda. Many NGOs perform the role poorly. Many NGOs in Goma exhibit a striking lack of knowledge about conditions in Rwanda. ...

Given the one-sided propaganda battle underway in the camps, international agencies should take responsibility for providing new channels of information to the refugees. This requires commitment of staff time and a willingness to share information on a daily or weekly basis with outsiders. NGOs, working individually or as a consortium, should designate field staff information officers responsible for systematically providing information to radio stations (see above), to UNHCR, and to other components of a mass information campaign.

Recommendation #19 NGOs in Goma should require expatriate staff to spend time in Rwanda to gain better knowledge of conditions there.

NGOs operating in refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania are perfectly positioned to communicate accurate, useful information directly to the refugees they serve. Unfortunately, many NGO/Goma staff lack information about Rwanda. Many have never set foot in Rwanda. Some NGO workers tend to believe exaggerated propaganda about Rwanda emanating from the exiled regime.

NGOs in Goma should oblige all staff members to spend a week in Rwanda in order to gain a more accurate understanding of conditions there. Goma relief workers with even limited experience in Rwanda are better equipped to answer refugees questions comfortably and with credibility. ...

Giving Goma relief workers exposure to Rwanda should not be viewed as an inconvenient nuisance--it is an important tactic made necessary by the unique nature of the Rwandan refugee situation and its propaganda war.

Recommendation #20 NGOs in Goma should attempt to monitor the well-being of their former refugee employees who have returned to Rwanda.

Most NGOs in Goma hire refugees as employees, and most NGOs can cite several refugee employees who quit their jobs and repatriated. During USCR's site visit, NGO/Goma workers regularly expressed curiosity about the fate of former colleagues who had repatriated. Many expatriate staff and refugees interpreted the lack of specific news as an indication that returnees had encountered serious troubles or death in Rwanda. This pervasive no news is bad news mentality is often inaccurate, counterproductive, and unnecessary.

NGOs in Goma should attempt to track former employees who have repatriated. UNHCR/Rwanda and NGOs in Rwanda should assist in collecting this information upon request. ... Refugees employed by NGOs are often influential in refugee camps, and news about their safe return to Rwanda could influence other refugees.

Recommendation #21 Exploit the fact that Goma's refugee camps are organized according to communes and sectors--it is therefore easy to provide commune-specific information directly to refugees from a given commune.

Refugees can benefit from general information about Rwanda, but detailed information about conditions in their home commune or home sector is most influential. The highly organized structure of the refugee camps by home commune should facilitate bringing commune-specific information directly to the appropriate refugees.

Refugees should receive weekly reports about life in their home communes, including information about relief projects, development projects, human rights monitoring, crop production, etc. Collecting and disseminating this information requires proper collaboration between UNHCR/Rwanda and UNHCR/Goma.

* Health conditions among refugees in Goma are excellent. Malnutrition is negligible. Birth rates have returned to 90% of normal Rwandan levels.

UNHCR and relief organizations have accomplished a remarkable logistical and humanitarian feat in the Goma refugee camps despite the unfavorable terrain. Camps that were thought to be unsustainable have been sustained. The question is whether international donors will remain willing to support the massive camps without some progress toward resolution.

Site Visit Notes
Rwandan Refugees: Updated Findings and Recommendations
October 25, 1995

by Jeff Drumtra, U.S. Committee for Refugees

* The number of refugees from each prefecture estimated.

Estimates by UNHCR and the Rwandan government indicate that perhaps half of all Rwandan refugees originate from three prefectures: Kibungo, Byumba, and Gisenyi.

Some 340,000 refugees originate from Kibungo prefecture, approximately 200,000 from Byumba, and 170,000 from Gisenyi. About 165,000 come from Ruhengeri prefecture, 160,000 from rural Kigali, and 160,000 from Butare region. An estimated 40,000 originate from Cyangugu prefecture, 40,000 from Gitarama region, 40,000 from Kibuye, 30,000 from Kigali town, and nearly 20,000 from Gikongoro, according to the estimates.

These estimates are highly approximate, and account for only 1.3 million of the estimated 1.8 million refugees.

* Land occupancy varies significantly in different regions of Rwanda.

Population levels in several prefectures remain less than 50 percent of pre-genocide levels, according to Rwandan government data. Other prefectures have returned to nearly 100 percent of earlier population levels, according to the government. ...

Population and refugee statistics suggest that Kibungo prefecture could be another potential flashpoint in the future. The Rwandan government has made Kibungo region a major permanent resettlement area for old caseload Tutsi returnees. Tutsi are gradually resettling in Kibungo even though some 340,000 Hutu--more than half the normal population--have not yet returned to their homes.

* A tense war mentality continues to exist in Rwanda's border regions.

Veteran troops of the RPA patrol border areas. Small-scale infiltrations by former Rwandan military (FAR) or Interahamwe militia occur several times weekly. Bases of FAR soldiers or militia exist inside Rwanda, in the Gishwati Forest of Gisenyi region, according to sources judged credible and impartial by USCR.

Areas of infiltration appear to be particularly susceptible to overreactions and abuses by RPA troops on alert. Human rights violations in these border areas, regardless of perpetrators, shape refugees impressions about tensions and poor security in the rest of Rwanda. The pervasive presence of RPA troops in border areas--posted there for understandable security reasons--aggravates refugees concerns that they are unwelcome in Rwanda.

Recommendation #22 Train RPA troops to receive large numbers of returnees.

The government of Rwanda, with international assistance, should provide special training to RPA soldiers posted in border areas to prepare them to deal properly with large numbers of civilian returnees. Training should range from human rights to proper crowd control techniques.

* Rwanda is a traumatized, post-genocide society that will likely remain traumatized for years or decades into the future.

Rwanda's genocide continues to reverberate through Rwandan society. Fortunately for the world--but unfortunately for Rwanda--the world has only limited experience dealing with the legacy of genocide. As a traumatized society, Rwanda will likely experience revenge killings, violent land disputes, paranoia, and deep mistrust for years to come. Proper policies by the Rwandan government can alleviate the instability, but probably cannot eliminate it altogether.

Similarly, proper repatriation programs can gradually make refugee return and resettlement possible, but ironclad guarantees of safety for absolutely all returnees are impossible.

Recommendation #23 The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) should remain prepared for a possible new round of humanitarian emergency in Rwanda.

The relative calm inside Rwanda, coupled with OFDA s worldwide budget constraints, has virtually ended OFDA operations in the country. Significant repatriation could, however, propel Rwandan society into new stresses warranting quick OFDA reaction. Forcible expulsion of the refugees by Zaire would almost certainly trigger a humanitarian crisis in Rwanda, as would a massive voluntary return of refugees under the direction of FAR and the old regime.

Recommendation #24 Continue training a national police force that would reduce the RPA's policing responsibilities.

The RPA is trained as an army, not as a police force. Its continued involvement in domestic police work is a prescription for human rights problems and political concerns. International donors are making progress in helping Rwanda establish a police force. This should continue to be a priority in a country where post-genocide disputes over property, restitution, and ethnic tensions will be common for years.

* Rwanda currently is sufficiently safe for refugee repatriation, according to UNHCR/Rwanda.

UNHCR/Rwanda cites several criteria to explain its recent decision to encourage voluntary refugee repatriation to Rwanda. Until recent weeks UNHCR had facilitated repatriation to Rwanda but had stopped short of encouraging repatriation.

UNHCR/Rwanda cites the Rwandan government's ongoing fidelity to the Arusha Accords; the Tripartitite Agreement on repatriation among UNHCR, Rwanda, and Zaire; gradual improvements in Rwanda's justice and prison systems; the recent pronouncement by the Rwandan president welcoming refugee return; and the Rwandan government's commitment to safe repatriation in order to gain favor with international donors.

UNHCR officials cite a speech by Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu on Sept. 5 stating that the Rwandan government reiterates its determination to do everything possible to enable the return of Rwandan refugees. No efforts will be spared to ensure that every Rwandan enjoys equal rights to citizenship and protection by the government. Bizimungu pledged that the process of law will be followed under international law to ensure there are no arbitrary arrests.

UNHCR staff and other observers point to the relatively safe return and resettlement of 13,000 refugees in August (who were forcibly expelled from Zaire) as another indication that conditions are sufficiently safe for larger repatriation. Up to 200 of the 13,000 returnees forcibly expelled from Zaire were arrested or detained in Rwanda, suggesting that 98 percent of the refugees resettled without serious incident.

The RPA massacre of 110 Hutu at Kanama on September 11 has not changed the determination of UNHCR/Rwanda that most refugees can repatriate safely. UNHCR/Rwanda indicated to USCR that Rwandan authorities appear to be responding appropriately to the Kanama massacre.

Recommendation #25 Conditions in much of Rwanda currently appear to be suitable for gradual voluntary repatriation. Rapid uncoordinated repatriation in large numbers, however, would probably be dangerous.

UNHCR is correct to promote organized voluntary repatriation at this time. Systematic persecution of innocent returnees is not evident. Rwandan civil society, however, appears to have a limited capacity to absorb large numbers of returnees at this time. Future human rights incidents and other disputes are predictable as land becomes more occupied.

Appropriate policies by the Rwandan government can alleviate these repatriation problems, but probably cannot eliminate them in a post-genocide society.

Recommendation #26 Establish repatriation reception committees in each commune to deal with local problems related to repatriation, resettlement, and reintegration.

Before significant repatriation begins, appropriate agencies should act now to establish local repatriation reception committees capable of dealing with problems related to repatriation, resettlement, and reintegration before they erupt into violence. The UN Human Rights Field Operation has recently taken a lead in organizing this endeavor, but much remains to be done.

Recommendation #27 Provide improved analysis of the causes of human rights violations and how to resolve them.

International donors should help the UN Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda improve its ability to provide more sophisticated analysis of the causes and solutions for human rights violations. Some 112 UN human rights field officers scattered through the country currently provide a wealth of raw data on human rights and security conditions. The program's analytical capacity is weak, however, and is therefore less useful than it could be.

Proper computer mapping and staff support would enable human rights officials in the country to analyze whether security incidents occur more frequently in border areas than elsewhere; whether atrocities tend to occur immediately after infiltrations by FAR; whether abuses tend to occur immediately prior to RPA troop rotations; whether security incidents rise when local repatriation reaches a certain threshhold; whether atrocities decline when local schools open, etc.

This type of correlative analysis creates opportunities for preventive actions. The Rwandan government, the UN, international donors, and assistance agencies all would benefit from the insights generated by this type of sophisticated, constructive analysis.

Recommendation #28 Make safer the new border crossing between the Goma camps and the Gisenyi region, located at Mutovu.

UNHCR and the Rwandan government have attempted to encourage refugee repatriation by opening a new border crossing at Mutovu, six kilometers from Zaire's Kibumbu refugee camp. USCR visited the crossing point. Fewer than 20 refugees had returned via the Mutovu crossing.

One problem was that refugees wishing to cross at Mutovu could arrive there only after walking six kilometers through the bush, where they were vulnerable to potential ambush by Interahamwe, RPA, or bandits. In addition, RPA troops were reportedly threatening to limit the number of returnees to 150 per day and were threatening to shoot any returnees who strayed from the footpath. Roads from the border crossing to a reception center 10 miles away would be almost impassable for large vehicles in rainy season.

UNHCR/Rwanda and UNHCR/Goma should collaborate to provide transportation or escorts for refugees wanting to repatriate via Mutovu crossing. UNHCR/Rwanda should improve the road to the border crossing. Rwandan authorities should ensure that no artificial limits are placed on the number of returnees at Mutovu and should instruct RPA troops that returnees are not targets of war.

* The permanent resettlement of old caseload Tutsi returnees is proceeding slowly.

The Rwandan government estimates that 750,000 old caseload Tutsi have returned to Rwanda. Approximately half of them are believed to inhabit towns, and half are believed to live in rural areas. The exact number of Tutsi returnees who have resettled permanently on their own land is unclear, but appears to be no more than 20 percent. This means that more than a half-million Tutsi returnees remain effectively internally displaced, not yet settled on land they can call their own.

The government is attempting to resettle large numbers of Tutsi returnees in the extreme northeast (including in Akagera Park), in the Kibungo prefecture in southeast Rwanda, and in northwest Rwanda between Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. The government and UNHCR offer different assessments of the sustainable population capacities in these areas. ...

The Rwandan government's internal bureaucracies also appear to be slowing permanent resettlement. ...

International agencies and donors who correctly value a multiparty government in Rwanda are encountering the inefficiencies and competing interests inherent in multiparty governance.

Recommendation #29 Permanently resettle larger numbers of old caseload Tutsi returnees.

The government of Rwanda should resolve its internal debates and act in a rapid, coordinated fashion to facilitate the permanent resettlement of old caseload Tutsi returnees. UNHCR should exhibit more willingness to install the infrastructure for resettlement at designated sites, in advance of families arrival.

Resettlement of Tutsi returnees should be a priority. Resettling Tutsi returnees is crucial to encourage repatriation by Hutu refugees and to minimize land conflicts when they do return. Many Tutsi returnees appear to be resisting permanent resettlement, but many other Tutsi squatters appear to be eager to relocate to their own property and get on with their lives.

* International donors have disbursed less than one-fourth of the $1 billion they have pledged to Rwanda.

International donors have pledged $1.084 billion to Rwanda. Some $252 million has been disbursed by donors as of mid- September, according to a report by UNDP/Kigali and the Rwandan government.

The United States has pledged $92.5 million--less than 10 percent of the total pledges to Rwanda by all donors. The United States has disbursed $68.5 million--about three- quarters of its pledged amount.

* International donors have provided only 12 percent of the $205 million required for refugee resettlement.

Some $205 million is required over two years for refugee resettlement, according to the Rwandan government and UNDP/Kigali. International donors have thus far pledged $82.2 million for this project and have disbursed only $25.5 million, according to the mid-September monthly report to donor governments.

The report states that the Action Plan for refugee resettlement remains largely unfunded despite the fact that most donors have insisted on an orderly return of refugees from abroad as part of the overall reconciliation program.... At the same time, some $500 million [has] reportedly been support refugees outside Rwanda.

Recommendation #30 International donors should continue to accelerate their disbursement of pledged monies.

Slow reaction has characterized the international community's response to Rwanda during the past two years. One key to Rwanda's refugee problem is to stabilize the situation inside Rwanda, yet international financial assistance has been painfully slow to arrive. A top official at the U.S. Agency for International Development noted in September that he has never witnessed a situation whereby the international community, for all intents and purposes, has marginalized a government to the extent it has in Rwanda.

Only in recent months have donor disbursements accelerated. The current disbursement total is five times larger than in May, three times larger than in July. It is true that an infusion of too much money too quickly can create new problems, but that does not yet appear to be a problem in this case. The government of Rwanda suffers from a profound lack of capacity after the genocide and refugee flight, according to Randolph Kent, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Kigali. International donors should honor the financial commitments they have made in a timely manner.

From: "APIC"
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 09:36:56 +0000
Subject: Rwanda: Refugee Report, part 2