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Monday, August 10, 2009

TweetThis! Tanzania naturalizes more than 3,500 Burundian refugees

A total of 3,568 out of over 162,000 Burundian refugees were granted citizenship by the host Government, in the first large-scale naturalization of its kind in Africa, the United Nations refugee agency said. This week, a decision marking “a major milestone in a programme that will bring to a close one of the world’s most protracted refugee situations,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

Early last year, some 218,000 Burundians who fled violence in their country in 1972 were given the choice by Tanzanian authorities to either return home or to apply for citizenship.

“UNHCR will continue to support the Tanzanian Government in the transition phases of the integration of the newly naturalized” through such community projects as road rehabilitation, school construction and repair, and improvement of health services, the agency’s spokesperson said. The entire repatriation scheme is funded through UNHCR’s $28 million Supplementary Appeal for 2008-2009, launched last February, which is facing an $8 million funding gap.

Read the uncut story from the UN's news site at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story

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