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Cablegate: Dr Congo Quarterly Refugee Report, June 2008

VZCZCXRO2075
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0570/01 1901547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081547Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8182
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000570

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PREL KPKO CG TZ UG ZA UN
SUBJECT: DR CONGO QUARTERLY REFUGEE REPORT, JUNE 2008

1. (SBU) Summary: UNHCR reports repatriation of over 10,600
Congolese as of June 2008. There are currently over 338,000
Congolese refugees in neighboring countries and over 176,000
refugees from other countries in the DRC. Repatriation of Congolese
from Tanzania has recently halted, repatriation from Zambia recently
began, and repatriation from Uganda is planned to begin within the
next year. Sustainable peace is essential to resolve refugee and
IDP issues in the DRC. Humanitarian officials are concerned about
the consequences of any new military offensive in eastern DRC. End
Summary.

Return of Congolese refugees to the DRC
----------------------------------------

2. (U) As of mid-June 2008, UNHCR has assisted 6,710 Congolese
refugees to return to Equateur province, 1,500 to South Kivu
province, and 2,410 to Katanga province during the year. There are
no estimates of non-assisted returns for 2008.

DRC refugees in African countries
---------------------------------

3. (U) UNHCR estimates 338,423 Congolese refugees are currently in
other African countries. Tanzania has the largest number, with
94,942. Zambia hosts 54,687, Rwanda 50,687, Uganda 39,950, Burundi
24,400, Republic of Congo 21,768 and Central African Republic 1,825.
An additional 50,164 are located in other countries.

Refugees hosted by DRC
----------------------

4. (U) As of April 2008, 176,121 refugees from other countries were
living in the DRC. They are from Angola (112,705), Rwanda (28,521),
Burundi (17,602), Uganda (13,905), Sudan (2,511), Republic of Congo
(781), Central African Republic (39) and other countries (57).

Congolese IDPs
--------------

5. (U) UNHCR estimates there are currently 1,364,578 IDPs in the
DRC: 846,699 in North Kivu, 266,140 in Sud Kivu, 152,369 in Ituri
District, 68,022 elsewhere in Orientale province, and 31,348 in
Katanga.

Repatriation from Zambia
------------------------

6. (U) The fourth meeting of the Tripartite Commission for
repatriation of Congolese refugees in Zambia took place April 15-17
in Lubumbashi. UNICEF, WHO, and FAO participated as observers. The
Commission confirmed plans for voluntary repatriation from Zambia to
Moba and Kalemie of 19,336 Congolese in 41 convoys, 34 by boat via
Mpulungu and seven by road via Pweto.

7. (U) A Tripartite delegation visited camps in Kala and Mwange,
Zambia April 27-30 to address refugees' questions about security,
infrastructure, education, health and employment hindering their
return to the DRC. Voluntary repatriation began May 2. UNHCR Moba
launched 2008 repatriation operations in Nord and Haut Katanga on
May 4.

Repatriation from Uganda
------------------------

8. (U) The DRC-Uganda-UNHCR Tripartite Technical Working Group met
for the first time in Kinshasa June 11-12 to begin discussions on an
agreement for repatriation of Congolese refugees in Uganda. The
group agreed on a legal framework for further consultations aimed at
finalizing an agreement later this year. A UNHCR official told us
they also agreed to a timetable that would begin repatriation of
Congolese refugees in July 2009.

Repatriation from Tanzania
--------------------------

9. (U) Repatriation of Congolese refugees in Tanzania has halted,
according to UNHCR officials in Bukavu and Uvira, South Kivu.
PolOff and Regional RefCoord visited an empty refugee transit center
in Uvira May 17 and were told by a center official that he did not
know when the next refugee returns would take place. Many Congolese
refugees once volunteered for repatriation from Tanzania, however
those that remain have been there many years and established
Tanzanian roots. They are opposed to repatriation at this time.
UNHCR officials told us that it is difficult to convince these
refugees that the conditions are right for return to the DRC.


KINSHASA 00000570 002 OF 002


10. (SBU) Comment: Sustainable peace in the DRC's eastern
provinces is essential to resolving longstanding refugee and IDP
issues. UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations continue to
express concern that a military offensive against the FDLR or
failure of the Amani program could create additional obstacles
further hindering resolution of these issues. End comment.

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