The Politics of Repatriation: Rwandan Refugees in Uganda, 2003-2017

Frank Ahimbisibwe
IOB Working paper 2017.09

Uganda hosts refugees from neighboring countries including Rwanda. According toUNHCR, by the end of 2016, Uganda was the 5th and 1st top refugee hosting country in the world and Africa respectively. It hosted over 900,000 refugees. This number had increased to over 1.2 million by May 2017. In 2003, a tripartite agreement was signed to repatriate 25,000 Rwandan refugees. Only 850 of them accepted to return and many of them came back almost immediately to Uganda claiming insecurity and human rights violations in Rwanda. The Rwandan repatriation was not devoid of politics. It was influenced by political interests of various actors: the international community, regional geo-politics, Uganda and Rwanda. This article analyzes the politics of repatriation of Rwandan refugees by focusing on politics at international and regional levels as well as in Uganda and Rwanda.

Key words: Rwandan refugees, Repatriation, Politics, Uganda, Rwanda

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