Resettlement to Belgium: Mission to select Congolese Refugees in Burundi

The second main component of the Belgian Resettlement Programme 2013 from the Great Lakes Region started with a selection mission of the Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless persons (CGRS) in Burundi. Some 50 particularly vulnerable refugees were interviewed to see if they are eligible for resettlement in Belgium.

On 29 September, a delegation of the CGRS travelled to Muyinga, in the North-East of Burundi. The delegation consisted of a mission leader of the international unit of the CGRS and two caseworkers specialised in the region. As their selection mission took place at the same time as a selection mission from the UK, they could draw on the expertise of a country with a long standing experience in resettlement..

On the basis of 12 files transmitted by the UNHCR, the CGRS has interviewed 56 Congolese refugees, living in two refugee camp near Muyinga, Gasorwe and Musasa. They were mostly families, single mothers with children and vulnerable refugees without any prospect of returning to the DRC or to become integrated in Burundi. Some of them had been staying in the refugee camps for more than 10 years. A preliminary medical check-up has been carried out by the IOM during the selection mission.

© CGRS/CGRA 2013 - Gasorwe refugee camp

Now that the CGRS selection mission is over, Fedasil will organize a cultural orientation mission early November. The selected refugees will arrive in Belgium by the end of autumn and stay at first in a reception centre. An appeal was made to the public welfare services to offer housing and to participate in the integration process of these refugees.

A first group of resettled refugees, Burundians from Tanzania, arrived already in Belgium at the start of the summer. Three vulnerable families selected on dossier basis joined this group later on.  With the selection of the Congolese refugees from Burundi, the quota of 100 resettled refugees in Belgium in 2013 will be completed.