UNHCR Sends Military Uniforms To Burundi Refugees, Angers Tanzania

UNHCR Sends Military Uniforms To Burundi Refugees, Angers Tanzania
A consignment of clothes heading to a Burundian refugee camp in Tanzania turned out to contain Tanzanian military uniform. This angered Tanzanian authorities who seized the consignment forcing UNHCR to apologize.

The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) apologized to Tanzania after the garments found clearly resembled the Tanzania People’s Defence Force’s uniform.

Upon seizure of the consignment, Tanzanian authorities destroyed them. The clothes were heading to Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps.

Filippo Grandi, the UNHCR Commisioner General had to travel to Dar es Salaam to apologize to President John Magufuli.

Mr Grandi said;

One Japanese company donated garments for our workers. Unfortunately these clothes resembled military uniforms and we received them to distribute to the refugee camps. This was a mistake, so we ask for forgiveness and promise it will never happen again.

This is not the first time this has happened. In early 2019 over 1000 military garments similar to the country's military were confiscated  and destroyed from Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps.

President John Pombe Magufuli accepted the apology.

At the same time, UNHCR promised continued support for refugees and surrounding communities in Tanzania.

However, President Magufuli decried the promises of a refugee fund that UNHCR is yet to commit to for the past 10 years.

Tanzania currently hosts 350,000 refugees, with 40,000 being from Burundi.

Tanzania has been receiving refugees from various countries facing political instability and granted them asylum, permitting them to use the country’s resources regardless of sometimes not receiving funds from international organisations.

Many of the Burundian refugees in Tanzania ran away from their country during the skirmishes in the tiny country that borders Tanzania.


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