‘Voluntary’ Repatriation of Rwandan Refugees in Uganda: Between Law and Practice-Views from Below

Frank Ahimbisibwe
IOB Working paper 2017.06

Uganda hosts refugees from neighboring countries including Rwanda. By May 2017, Uganda was the second refugee hosting country in the world, with over 1.2 million refugees. In 2003, a tripartite agreement was signed to repatriate 25,000 Rwandan refugees. Only 850 refugees accepted to return and most of them came back almost immediately to Uganda on the grounds of insecurity and human rights violations in Rwanda. Although legal principles and norms exist on voluntary repatriation, they have been violated in the case of the Rwandans’ repatriation. There exists a gap between the legal principles and the practice of repatriation. This article analyzes this discrepancy from the refugees’ point of view by focusing on specific legalprinciples of repatriation. 

Keywords: Rwandan refugees, Voluntary repatriation, Refugee law, Human rights, law, Uganda, Rwanda

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