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UN says no refugee status for Rwandans after June

GENEVA, Oct 7 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday said it would recommend the scrapping of refugee status for thousands of Rwandans by the end of June as normalcy had returned after the 1994 genocide.

Rwandan and UNHCR officials met in Geneva “to discuss progress on comprehensive solutions for Rwandan refugees,” a statement said.

They agreed “that a meeting of all relevant states and other actors will be organised in December this year with a view to achieving increased voluntary repatriation and securing greater opportunities for local integration or alternative legal status for Rwandan refugees in countries of asylum,” it said.

“The cessation of refugee status is one of the components of this strategy and in this regard, UNHCR will recommend to states that they invoke cessation by 31 December 2011 effective on 30 June 2012.”

Rwanda’s genocide claimed 800,000 lives and sent an estimated two million refugees over the country’s borders.

Some 114,000 Rwandans live across 40 countries with refugee status, according to the UNHCR. Most are concentrated in the Great Lakes region (92,500) while nearly 70,000 live in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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