Burundi refugees in Rwanda get protection assurance

Saturday August 13 2016

Burundian refugees at Gashora transit camp in

Burundian refugees at Gashora transit camp in Rwanda. FILE PHOTO | DANIEL S NTWARI 


Rwanda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have stepped up efforts to protect Burundian refugees in Rwanda from human trafficking.

According to UNHCR, there are more than 78,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda, a figure that has risen steadily since violence broke out in Burundi when President Pierre Nkurunziza won a controversial third term last year in July.

Sexual violence and labour exploitation in and outside the refugee camps are reportedly rampant, which sources say puts the refugees at the risk of exploitation by human trafficking rings.

According to the United States Department of State, some refugees fleeing political violence in Burundi suffered exploitation through commercial sex, child sex trafficking and unpaid domestic labour.

In a report released last month, the United States said that in 2015, some Burundian refugee girls transited through Rwanda and were exploited in sex trafficking and domestic servitude in Uganda.

Rwandan police last month arrested a Kenyan national suspected of attempting to take three Burundian women to Saudi Arabia through Rwanda. There has been an outcry over mistreatment of Kenyans in Middle East.