Zambia-DRC-Refugees

Zambia: DRC refugees return home under voluntary repatriation programme

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

The first 100 of nearly 5,000 refugees who fled violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) four years ago left Zambia for home on Tuesday under a voluntary repatriation programme set to continue into 2022.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Zambia’s authorities began on Tuesday the voluntary repatriation of Congolese refugees from Mantapala settlement in Luapula province to Pweto in Haut-Katanga province in DRC “as security has improved sufficiently to allow for their return in safety and dignity.” 

Zambia hosts some 103,028 refugees, asylum seekers and former refugees. These include 63,681 from the DRC.

“Some 4,774 refugees have expressed their intention to return voluntarily through intention surveys carried out by UNHCR in October,” the UN Refugee Agency said in a statement. 

UNHCR is working with authorities in DRC and development partners to advance reintegration projects including education, health and agriculture, and to ensure conditions for safe and dignified returns.

Some 18,000 Congolese refugees live by farming at Mantapala settlement alongside 5,000 Zambians, across 11 integrated villages. 

The settlement was established in early 2018 to accommodate refugees who were displaced because of inter-ethnic clashes as well as fighting between Congolese security forces and militia groups in parts of the south eastern DRC in 2017.

JN/APA

React to this article