March 1, 2024

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Japan pledges support to UNHCR on health and economic opportunities for displaced populations in Rwanda

The Government of Japan today announced new funding amounting to USD 600,000 to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Rwanda for its 2024 programme. Specifically, support will be directed towards assisting refugees and asylum seekers in health and nutrition, and increasing livelihood and economic opportunities.

Rwanda is currently host to approximately 135,000 refugees and asylum seekers, most who have been displaced for over a decade. In addition, over 12,500 asylum seekers have fled from DRC to Rwanda in 2023 due to escalating fighting. Considering the urgent nature of the situation, the financial support from the people of Japan to UNHCR was swiftly approved by Japanese National Diet to respond to the increasing needs of refugees and asylum seekers.

In particular, providing quality health and nutrition services is a lifesaving intervention. UNHCR and partners currently run primary health care clinics in all refugee camps in Rwanda which offer a range of services including GP consultations, vaccinations, reproductive health care, laboratory tests and support for HIV/AIDS. Both refugees and the Rwandan host community have access to such services which will continue in 2024 thanks to funding from Japan.

In addition, the new support from Japan will enable UNHCR to strengthen economic opportunities for refugees in Rwanda by consolidating information about their skills and talents which is crucial for matching them with livelihoods opportunities. Given the protracted nature of the situation, enhancing refugee self-reliance is a key objective in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Rwandan National Strategy for Transformation.

“Providing primary health care is a critical need for refugees in Rwanda. Currently UNHCR runs 8 health clinics in refugee camps across the country which need consistent and sustainable support to maintain services. Funding from Japan comes at an important time to support our 2024 programme,” said UNHCR Rwanda Representative, Ms. Aissatou Ndiaye. “In addition, as UNHCR works increasingly to build refugee self-reliance, this funding will enable us to have better data on the skills and talents of the refugee population in Rwanda and support them accordingly,” she added.

The Embassy of Japan expresses its pleasure that Japan will contribute to addressing the needs for vulnerable people such as asylum seekers and refugees by ensuring the access to health and nutrition services and increasing economic opportunities for both refugees and host community through UNHCR.

Japan’s assistance is based on the concept of “Human Security in the new era” that is articulated in the Development Cooperation Charter of Japan, highlighting in particular” Human-centred cooperation” and “Solidarity” with various actors. In this regard, this collaboration with UNHCR embodies the concept of “Solidarity” in the humanitarian situation.

Japan highly acknowledges the tireless efforts and dedications made by the Government of Rwanda and UNHCR to tackle the challenges, and Japan remains committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.

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