Refugee status for Rwandans comes to an endListen /
Nearly 100,000 Rwandans still living in exile are to loose their refugee status on the 30th of June this year, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The cessation of refugee status will however only apply to Rwandan refugees who fled the country before 31 December 1998.
UNHCR says both the International and the African Union Refugee Conventions provide for refugee status to end once fundamental and durable changes have taken place in the country of origin and the circumstances that led to the flight no longer exist.
Adrian Edwards from UNHCR says Rwanda is enjoying relative peace and stability which has enabled majority of the 3.5 million refugees who fled the country in the wake of the 1994 genocide and the 1997/98 armed clashes in the northwestern parts of the county to return home.
"There are 100,000 refugees still remaining out of their country. As of Sunday refugee status will end for them. And then it’s the process-this has been with all cessations of persuading people to voluntarily return, looking whether the local integration is an option and also trying to make sure that anyone who still needs international protection continues to get it. But on a step by step basis this will mean that the majority of them will be returning to Rwanda. The remaining Rwandan refugees are hosted mainly by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, the Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe."
Refugees from Sierra Leone and Angola have also had their cessation of refugee status implemented in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.