Central African Republic: 3,000 Refugees Return Home

It is part of efforts to restore normalcy following years of strife.

The Central African Republic, CAR's National Commission for Refugees, CNR, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, in 2018 returned home 3,350 people who took refuge in neighbouring Congo Brazzaville Republic. Making the disclosure in the CAR capital, Bangui on June 14, 2018, Acting Secretary General, Stéphane Engombé-Ifona, said 2,800 other refugees in Cameroon had indicated their intention to return home.

Giving a report on the commission's mid-year activities in Bangui, CNR officials said between 37 and 57 requests for asylum were received from 75 people. According to Engombé-Ifona, lack of logistics and funds was slowing down the return of more refugees from abroad. "You need to hire vehicles and pay mission allowances for the team to accompany the returning refugees," he explained. The meeting on June 14, 2019, which coincided with the 36th anniversary of the National Commission for Refugees, also saw the handover of asylum certificates to 42 Rwandan nationals.

In December 2013, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes as violence spread in the Central African Republic after rebels overthrew the government of Gen. François Bozizé. Today, CAR continues to experience sporadic surges of violence forcing over 543,000 CAR refugees to remain in neighbouring Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville, with smaller numbers in Sudan and South Sudan.

According to UNHCR, this is the highest number of CAR refugees seen since the start of the crisis. In addition to the situation, close to 700,000 people have been forced to flee inside the country. This represents an increase of about 60 per cent, compared to 2016 numbers. CAR had been experiencing a gradual transition towards peace and stability since late 2016, when both refugees and internally displaced people started to go back home.

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