Tanzania recognises the unity of people, and we look forward to working alongside partners, both old and new, towards ensuring refugees and host communities in Tanzania are given the best opportunities to live alongside one another prosperously and peacefully.”
- Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Engineer Hamadi Massauni (MP).
Tanzania has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum-seekers from neighbouring countries, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Since April 2015 when unrest broke out in neighbouring Burundi, a total of 238,000 Burundians have entered Tanzania. The country currently hosts over 313,000 refugees among a total population of 53.4 million. For decades, Tanzania has shown exemplary leadership in supporting durable solutions for refugees in protracted situations, as when it granted citizenship in 2014 to over 162,000 refugees who fled Burundi in 1972.
At the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees on 20 September 2016 in New York, Tanzania renewed its commitment to protect refugees and asylum-seekers. It specifically pledged to:
The application of the CRRF in Tanzania builds on existing mechanisms and initiatives (1998 Refugees Act and 2003 National Refugee Policy) with the aim of reviewing and updating them. The 1998 Refugees Act and the 2003 National Refugee Policy that govern Tanzania’s refugee policy are under review, providing an opportunity to move towards a settlement approach and towards the inclusion of refugees into national systems of service delivery, such as education and health.
Government efforts on the local integration of new Tanzanians will feed into the CRRF, as will the United Nations Joint Programme (UNJP) for Kigoma Region in the Northwest, which fosters an inclusive approach in the support provided to host and refugee communities. For instance, the UNJP will establish community centres where youths from both the refugee camps and surrounding villages can access learning and skills development opportunities.
Kigoma Refugee Camps turned into schools, health centres
In line with the ‘whole-of-society’ approach outlined in the New York Declaration, the application of the CRRF in Tanzania is led by the Government, facilitated by UNHCR, and guided by broad partnerships in-country. UNHCR and a wide range of humanitarian and development actors, including civil society, are actively participating in the process. The CRRF in Tanzania is coordinated by the CRRF National Steering Committee, which is technically supported by a Secretariat. The NSC's central role is to ensure a comprehensive refugee response through policy, oversight, coordination, and resource mobilization. It is co-chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), and includes the membership of Government line ministries, UN agencies, civil society, development actors, the World Bank, private sector, and academia. The NSC is to work closely with regional and district authorities to ensure effective coordination between national, regional and district levels.