On Saturday 17 June 2006 ACCORD’s Burundi Programme staff participated in a ‘Walk for Refugees’ in Bujumbura, Burundi. This walk was organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bujumbura, Burundi to create awareness regarding refugees. Following democratic elections in 2005, Burundian refugees are returning to Burundi with hope of a new life.
At the same time there are still various groups of foreign refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for example, that are still based in Burundi, waiting for a peaceful solution for their own country before they can return.
The ACCORD Burundi Programme was represented by: Ms. Jenny Theron, Mr. Adelin Hatungimana, Mrs. Jeanne Bahama, Mr. Balthazar Nzirakishimirizo, Mrs. Chantal Kanyange, Ms. Marie Niyongere, Ms. Neela Ghoshal and Ms. Tamina Chowdhury. Various other UNHCR partner organizations, as well as refugees based in Burundi, also took part in this event. Reflecting their enthusiasm for this vital work, participants from the UNHCR and their partners soon found themselves jogging rather than walking. ACCORD staff were spotted sporting huge smiles on their faces while enjoying the fresh air.
This walk formed part of a group of activities centered around the International Day for Refugees on 20 June 2006. Other activities included: a football match between UNHCR, partner organizations and Congolese refugees in Burundi; the showing of documentaries; a conference on the International Convention for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in particular; and other activities. ACCORD Burundi, in partnership with UNHCR in Burundi, operates two Legal Aid Clinic Offices in the provinces of Ruyigi and Rumonge. The legal clinics aim to provide the local population, and more specifically the returnees, in the selected provinces with the assistance needed to deal with the challenges faced by both the welcoming communities and the returnees.