By Devota Mwachang’a and Prosper Makene
As marking the World Refugee Day, the government of Tanzania through its Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) assured to issue birth certificates to children born in the refugee camps so as to help them getting recognised documents which will identify their citizenship.
Tanzania is keeping at least 345,000 refugees, most came from Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo, staying at the refugee camps in Kigoma region (Nyarugusu, Ndula and Mtendeli), and few remained in Tabora and Katavi after many given Tanzanian citizenship.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Tanzania, Ambassador Hassan Simba Yahya said the government's expectation is to start issuing birthday certificates to children born in refuges camps even before the end of this year, and that will be a permanent process.
He said the government’s intention is to ensure that refugees receive all required necessary documents including birth certificates and identification cards, in accordance with international agreements that the country has signed.
“The decision to issue recognised documents to children born in refugee’s camps, follows the agreement between the government of Tanzania and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that enables the UNHCR to easily support refugees with the necessary resources,” he said.
Yahya said the government also considers of reviewing the refugee’s policy, laws and other related regulations aiming at assisting qualified refugees to get employments inside or outside the camping areas.
The Ag PS reminded international community to increase contribution in helping low income countries like Tanzania, to implement the responsibility of protect refugees.
“The contributions from international communities will help in improving daily social services to refugees,” he said.
He added: “It is better to be understood that the international community is also responsible to assist societies which are affected by presence of massive refugees for instance in Kagera, Kigoma and Katavi.”
World Refugee Day, international observance observed June 20 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. It is celebrated to support millions of families all over the world who have lost their homes and dear ones because of violence or war.
On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 55/76 decided that, from 2001, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. In this resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
African Refugee Day had been formally celebrated in several countries prior to 2000. The UN noted that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June.
Refugees are provided variety of lifesaving assistance, safety and protection by the government agencies and organizations. They are provided tents, shelter, living materials supplies and served with the life-saving services. The goal of celebrating this event is increasing public awareness among common public by sharing the related refugee stories.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has taken big steps for immediate support to all the humanitarian needs of the refugees. However, it needs some important actions by the governments and other private organizations as well on national and regional level to fully control the refugee’s condition.