The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have recently announced a decrease in basic services provided to refugees in Rwanda.
This decision comes as a consequence of the funding shortages faced by both organisations, making it increasingly challenging to sustain the necessary assistance to the growing refugee population in Rwanda. The reduction in services will impact crucial areas such as food provision, shelter, healthcare, and education.
The information was revealed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Emergency Management, Philippe Habinshuti, during the diplomatic briefing held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on October 11.
He revealed that Rwanda accommodates 134,519 refugees, 62.2 percent from the DR Congo, 37.24 percent from Burundi, and 0.56 percent from other countries.
He said the basic services to decrease include food, hospital referrals, as they will be limited to life-saving cases only, cooking energy, providing assistance to students attending boarding schools, as well as rehabilitating and maintaining shelters.
“Refugees hosted in Rwanda should not be forgotten in light of the increasing number of global conflicts and crises,” he said.
Rwanda, known for its progressive refugee policies, has always been committed to providing a safe haven for those in need. However, this recent decrease in services highlights the urgent need for sustained financial support to ensure the well-being and dignity of refugees in the country.
But with limited resources available, the provision of essential services has become increasingly strained.
The WFP, responsible for supplying food aid, has reported a significant decrease in its operational capacity due to financial constraints. This will undoubtedly have adverse effects on the nutrition and overall well-being of the refugee population, particularly vulnerable groups such as children, women, and the elderly.
The UNHCR, as the lead agency in assisting refugees, has expressed concern over the potential consequences of reduced support.
They emphasize that refugees rely heavily on these services for their survival and integration into their new communities. Moreover, the lack of access to education and healthcare might further hinder their chances of rebuilding their lives and becoming self-reliant.