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Cablegate: Refugee Update: Meeting Got's 2010 Deadlines

VZCZCXRO5526
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDR #0607/01 2580510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150510Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8852
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 2960
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3496
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1422
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0326
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1370
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0504

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAR ES SALAAM 000607

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL, INR FEHRENREICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM PREF RW CG TZ
SUBJECT: REFUGEE UPDATE: MEETING GOT'S 2010 DEADLINES

REF: A: DAR ES SALAAM 413, B: DAR ES SALAAM 525

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In separate meetings on August 31, UNHCR and IOM
updated Poloff and Refcoord on the progress of refugee resettlement
and camp closure. While camp closure continues, UNHCR
Representative, Yacoub El Hillo, expressed concern about a group of
young Burundian refugees in the Mtabila camp who are refusing to
return to Burundi. Further, he noted with concern the GOTQs stated
interest in invoking the cessation clause for Burundian refugees.
IOM and UNHCR officials also provided input on the closure of the
Kibondo processing facility, specifically strategies to ensure
continued access to key equipment for future resettlement cases
following the closure of Kibondo. UNHCR indicated resettlement
referrals are continuing and that it expects to have referred almost
2,500 refugees by year end. END SUMMARY

2. (U) On August 31, the Nairobi-based Refugee Officer for Refugee
Admissions (RefCoord) met with UNHCR and International Organization
for Migration (IOM) officials to review the status of refugee
resettlement and the closure of the refugee camps. Accompanied by
PolOff, RefCoord met with Yacoub El Hillo, Representative, UNHCR;
Indrika Ratwatte, Deputy Representative, UNHCR; and Sandrine
Desamours, Resettlement Officer, UNHCR. Separately, PolOff and
RefCoord met with Par Liljert, Chief of Mission, IOM and Rana Jaber,
IOMQs Regional Head of Operations, based in Nairobi.

Closure of Refugee Camps: Concerns with 2010 Deadline
--------------------------------------------- --------
3. (SBU) El Hillo detailed recent progress made by UNHCR in closing
and consolidating refugee camps in Tanzania. The relocation of the
Congolese refugees in the Lugufu camp to the Nyarugusu camp started
two weeks ago. UNHCR was organizing four convoys per week and at
this pace hoped to complete the relocation process by the end of
September. El Hillo noted that although there was a slight increase
in repatriation of Congolese refugees recently, UNHCR is keeping a
close eye on the situation in North and South Kivu.

4. (SBU) In June, UNHCR secured the GOT's approval to keep the
Nyarugusu and Mtabila camps open until September 2010, but El Hillo
raised some concerns about this deadline. Specifically, the 35,000
Burundians in Mtabila camp are reluctant to return (ref a). El Hillo
described them as well-organized and "very defiant" about returning.
El Hillo noted that more than 50 percent of these refugees are males
and under the age of 18. According to El Hillo, the rate of
repatriation among this group is disappointingly low. He believed
leaders within the refugee population were advising the refugees not
to register for repatriation.

5. (SBU) El Hillo also expressed concern about the GOT's interest in
invoking the cessation clause for Burundian refugees, an issue
raised during the Tripartite meeting in Bujumbura (ref b). He did
not rule out the possibility that the GOT would invoke the clause
unilaterally if the deadline for camp closure was not met. He
believed, however, that if the cessation clause was discussed during
the upcoming UNHCR Executive Committee meeting, the GOT might give
UNHCR additional time to complete camp closures. El Hillo said no
one wants to see refugee issues become a political issue during
Tanzania's 2010 elections, scheduled for October.

Kibondo Processing Center
-------------------------

6. (SBU) Refcoord discussed the planned closure and handover of the
processing facilities at Kibondo with both UNHCR and IOM officials.
RefCoord noted the USGQs interest in handing over the Kibondo
Processing facility by the end of September 2010 (although not all
refugees may have departed by then) as well as the USG's interest in
maintaining access to the x-ray machine following the handover. Both
UNHCR and IOM agreed that the goal is to cease processing from
Kibondo by September 2010.Both also expressed support for a proposed
plan to relocate the x-ray machine to the district hospital, with
the understanding that the x-ray machine could be used for
subsequent refugee medicals. However, Liljert cautioned that the
transfer of equipment can be a sensitive issue. He noted that one
facility handed over by UNHCR to regional officials is currently
going unused. Liljert suspected that the Regional Commissioner is
blocking the use of the facility because he believes equipment was
removed by UNHCR before the handover.

7. (SBU) Liljert noted that IOM had spoken to the Principal
Commissioner of Immigration Services about establishing a regional

DAR ES SAL 00000607 002 OF 002


training center for immigration officials in the vicinity of
Kibondo, similar to the one in Moshi. The Principal Commissioner and
several of his officers were impressed with the Moshi facility when
they toured it with Liljert. GOT Immigration Officials and IOM
expressed interest in establishing a second training center and a
processing facility for illegal migrants in Kibondo. Liljert noted
that due to the sensitivities of regional officials, it would be
important to keep any such effort quiet until an agreement was
finalized.

Naturalization of the 1972 Burundian Population
--------------------------------------------- --
8. (SBU) El Hillo reported that the GOT has upheld its commitment to
naturalizing the 1972 Burundian refugees. As noted in ref b, 3,568
Burundians have received citizenship and are awaiting their
naturalization certificates. UNHCR submitted a second batch of
applications for naturalization to the Ministry of Home Affairs in
late August and expected to submit two more in the next few weeks.
El Hillo suggested that the international community should continue
to support the GOT's naturalization and local integration efforts,
especially as it faces criticism from the opposition that these
initiatives compromise national security.

Status of Resettlement
----------------------
9. (U) UNHCR's Desamours reported on the status of referral
submissions to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). UNHCR-TZ
claims to have finished processing the Kanembwa caseload Q a total
of 1575 referrals Q and submitted them to the UNHCR Regional
Resettlement Hub in Nairobi. Desamours expects UNHCR to submit an
additional 500 referrals from the Nyarugusu camp by mid-October and
another 500 in December. The total by year-end should thus exceed
the target of 2,000 referrals for the year.

10. (SBU) Desamours raised several concerns about the referral
process. First, she noted that a group of 871 refugees at the
Kanembwa camp had been cleared for departure to the U.S. but had not
left Tanzania (Note: IOM subsequently confirmed that 572 had already
departed and 239 additional departures were expected by the end of
September). Second, because the caseloads of vulnerable refugees
will be very similar, UNHCR requested PRM approval to extend the use
of the abridged referral form (previously approved for the Kanembwa
caseload) to the remaining caseloads. UNHCR said, if approved, it
will submit revised population profiles for each population for
which the referral form is used. Finally, Desamours expressed
concern about the manner in which families are presented the option
of filing separate resettlement petitions for non-biologically
related children on their cases. She indicated that by not
expressing clearly the option for the child to be cross-referenced
with the case or to be treated as a separate case, the OPE (Overseas
Processing Entity) is causing anxiety among the families. The
families believe the fostered children will be taken from them when
they arrive in the U.S. RefCoord said he has plans to encourage the
OPE to use more appropriate language to explain the options. In
turn, RefCoord noted the concerns of the Consular Section about
refugeeQs ability to obtain permission to leave the camps to attend
visa interviews (Visa 92/Visa 93). UNHCR offered to work with the
Embassy to facilitate the movement and assist the refugees in
securing accommodations while in Dar es Salaam.

CUNNANE

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