ONGOING BURUNDIAN REFUGEE CRISIS
Location: Great Lakes Region East Africa (landlocked)
Neighbouring Countries: Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC
Language: Kirundi, French, tribal languages
Civil war: 1993 - 2005
Genocides: 1972, 1993
Ongoing crisis: 2015 - present
Current total refugee population: 430,000
Burundian refugees in Tanzania: 254,000
ONGOING REFUGEE CRISIS:
Burundi is a small landlocked country in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa. The country has a long history of conflict between ethnic groups, which twice resulted in genocides in 1972 and 1993.
At the moment, Burundi is going through yet another internal crisis which has resulted in wide spread human rights abuses, with hundreds of people killed and over 400,000 refugees having fled to neighbouring countries. The current crisis comes as a result of violence erupting after the refusal of the president to step down at the end of his final term in 2015.
The refugee crisis is ongoing with continuing atrocities being documented by international organisations - including killings, torture, rape, mass arrests, disappearances and a shutdown of critical civil society and media.
Tanzania has taken up a majority of refugees currently being hosted in camps in the northeast of the country. For many refugees, this is the third time they had to leave everything behind and flee with their families on foot, on a multiple-day long journey through forests, mountains and rivers to camps in neighbouring countries.
While refugees enjoy relative security and access to basic services in the camps, the response to the Burundian refugee crisis is highly underfunded. Refugees get a mere 21 per cent of the required funds – making it the world’s least funded refugee response. As a result, food rations and other services have been limited, leaving refugees with only about 60% of the required food quantities per person.
In 2017, we started a collaboration with UNHCR to develop a new product collection made by Burundian refugee women artisans. Through WomenCraft, refugee artisans gain access to premium international markets, generating reliable incomes which strengthen refugee resilience and restore their sense of self-determination.