from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM, (CAJ News) – SOME asylum-seekers currently detained in Tanzania fear for their safety upon being deported from the country.
They are detained in the northwestern town of Mutukula.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was concerned by a series of messages of distress it had been receiving from the Ugandan asylum-seekers.
UNHCR reiterated it consistently advocated that refugees and asylum-seekers, including those who claim to be in need of international protection, could not be returned to their countries of origin until their claims had been properly assessed by the competent authorities.
This is in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement.
“Non-refoulement is an international principle that prevents states from expelling or returning persons to a territory where their life or freedom would be threatened,” Babar Baloch, UNHCR spokesperson, explained.
UNHCR has appealed to the Tanzanian government of President John Magufuli for access to the detained asylum-seekers in order to assist with the assessments of their individual claims.
“UNHCR is hopeful that the responsible authorities in Tanzania will work with us to resolve this situation in accordance with their obligations under international law,” Baloch stated.
Since 2017, restrictions on access to asylum in Tanzania have increased for Burundian refugees. These fled the crisis that spiked in 2015 when Pierre Nkurunziza (now late) controversially secured a third presidential term.
According to Amnesty International, Tanzania has not only restricted access to asylum but also the freedom of movement and economic opportunities for Burundian refugees, making their stay in the country difficult.
Tanzanian security forces are accused of arresting and detaining those venturing outside of the Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu refugee camps to meet their daily needs.
– CAJ News