Refugee Backgrounder No. 2: The 1972 Burundians

The United States has agreed to resettle a group of Burundian refugees who have lived in Tanzanian refugee camps since 1972. The refugees, who are not able to return safely to their homes in Burundi or settle permanently in Tanzania, were referred to the United States for resettlement consideration by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Known as the “1972 Burundians,” the group resides in three different refugee camps in Tanzania: Ngara in the north, Kibondo in the country’s central region, and Kasulu in the south.

During FY 2007, the United States will resettle 2,000 to 3,000 of the refugees. An additional 4,000 to 5,000 will be resettled during FY 2008 and FY 2009.

Who are the 1972 Burundians? Why are they being resettled in the United States? What are their cultural customs and background characteristics? What will their resettlement needs be?