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Rwandan refugee abducted from Uganda, UNHCR disputes Rwandan claims that he was a criminal

November 6, 2013

Here’s a frightening report about a Rwandan refugee, Joel Mutabazi, who was recognized as a refugee by UNHCR and later kidnapped from Kampala and taken back to Rwanda.

Rwandan authorities accuse him of having linked to “genocidal forces,” but UNHCR publicly disputes the allegations. UNHCR’s representative in Uganda was quoted in The Times of London: “Rwandan refugees are one of the highest risk groups among refugee communities in Africa.”

The incident highlights how limited UNHCR’s protection tools often are for refugees who face the most immediate threats to their physical safety. While UNHCR can recognize that someone is in danger, it usually must rely on host governments to provide physical security for refugees. The case also is likely to add continuing fuel about whether Rwandan refugees should be sent home in any circumstances, a debate I have written about previously.

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