Rwanda: Over 4,000 Refugees Secure Jobs in Rwanda

13 October 2021

Members of Paliament have observed that there is improvement in the integration of refugees in the Rwandan society and labour sector as 4,047 have so far secured jobs in the country.

The Lower Chamber observed this during a virtual Plenary Session which adopted an report by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, which assessed is the implementation of the law of 2014 relating to refugees.

While presenting the report, MP Emmanuel Bugingo, the Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, said that the jobs the refugees the refugees in Rwanda secured jobs in education, health, cleaning services and trade sectors etc.

This was in line with the strategy to help refugees get employment opportunities, and wean themesveves off assistance provided in camp, he said, citing data from the Ministry of Emergency Management.

Article 18 of the law stipulates that any person having obtained refugee status in Rwanda shall enjoy the rights and liberties provided for by international instruments on refugees ratified by Rwanda.

These, according to the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR), include the 1951 Refugee Convention Art 17 that provides that refugees must be given "the most favourable treatment accorded to nationals of a foreign country in the same circumstances, as regards the right to engage in wage-earning employment.

In line with financial inclusion, the Committee said that over 72,000 refugees now use banking services.

Overall, Bugingo said, Rwanda host over 137,000 refugees grouped in over 37,000 families as of May 18, 2021.

Most of the refugees are Congolese accounting for 56.3 percent, and Burundians representing 43.5 percent.

Some 91 per cent of refugees are accommodated in six camps while 9 percent are in towns, largely in Bugesera, Huye and Kigali.

In addition, 12,332 refugees received training in line with job creation.

Regarding the strategy to integrate refugees into the education system in Rwanda, he said that all refugees with school going age are entitled to schooling.

Currently, Bugingo said, 44,261 refugees, are enrolled in primary and secondary school across the country, whereby they follow the national education programme and study in the same classes with their Rwandan colleagues.

The govenment has also implemented the strategy to provide health insurance to urban refugees - those living outside the camps.

The Committee said that the Ministry of Emergency Management, the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) signed a cooperation agreement under which all urban refugees have the right to access the Community based health insurance scheme commonly known as Mutuelle de Santé.

"So far, 9,632 refugees (representing 86.2 percent of the total) have such a health insurance and that the activity it is still ongoing," Bugingo indicated.

MP Alice Muzana, Deputy Chairperson of the Committee said, based on the information from the Ministry of Emergency Management, the law of 2014 relating to refugees was being effectively implemented in a way that provides lasting solutions to the issues which informed its enactment.

MP John Rukurwabyoma said that "I would say it is the uniqueness of Rwanda to settle refugees in safe places, have easy access to education, and medical services as nationals," pointing out that this implies a commendable effort in respecting the rights of refugees.

The Committee said they will continue to make a follow up of the implementation of strategies, including making cooking gas accessible in all refugee camps and transit centres across the country in line with reducing the reliance on firewood for cooking.

Another issue the Committee will continue monitoring is the environmental protection around camps such as through reforestation and anti-erosion control efforts.

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