In March 2018, the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Tanzania and Burundi signed a trilateral treaty making it easier for refugees to return home voluntarily. This August, Tanzania and Burundi signed a bilateral deal agreeing to return 200,000 Burundian refugees home by year's end. But the UNHCR is calling on Tanzania's government to refrain from deporting Burundian refugees against their will, saying their lives may be in danger when they get home.
Serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity continue unabated in Burundi. That was the opinion in a report published last month by the UN's International Commission of Inquiry on Burundi. That is also why the UNHCR refuses to support forced deportations, explained Pond. "UNHCR will not support the forced return of refugees," she said. "We have called upon both governments to ensure the voluntariness of repatriation and that it must take place in safety and dignity. We have also urged them to respect the Tripartite Agreement signed by the governments of Tanzania, Burundi and the UNHCR in 2017 to ensure that returns meet international standards."