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Rwandan refugees may be sent back home by June

Rwandan refugees who have lived outside of their country since fleeing the1994 genocide, will soon lose their refugee status, forcing many to return to their native nation, IRIN reports.

Their status will run out by the end of June 2012 following a recommendation by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) citing the "cessation clause" of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. According to UNHCR, they feel Rwandans will be able to return home safely to start over once again in their place of origin.

"The main thing taken into account is whether the situation that forced people to flee still exists," Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, a spokesperson with UNHCR told the publication. "In this case, for the Rwandans, obviously the genocide and the war is over and many Rwandans have already returned."

Even with the recommendation, many Rwandans who currently reside in South Africa, don't feel completely safe about returning to the country.

"If I go back, my safety will not be guaranteed and even up to now, my family is still getting threatened," Celine told the source.

Jean Pierre has lived in South Africa for 14 years, after many of his family members were killed in Rwanda.

"What we fled is still there," he told the publication. "We follow what is going on in our country; there’s no democracy, no respect for freedom of speech."

Those who fled now have lives and jobs in South Africa and many are afraid not only for their safety but of having no where to live, work or access to food security upon their return.
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