Longtime refugees grateful for citizenship in Tanzania

Published: 24/Oct/2015
Source: The Huffington Post

By Barbara Borst, Center for Global Affairs and Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University, Ulyankulu, Tanzania

Freedom. Happiness. Gratitude. These are words that people here use over and over to describe how they feel about becoming Tanzanian citizens after more than 40 years as refugees from Burundi. While the refugee and migrant crisis has engulfed the Middle East and Europe, Tanzania, one of the world’s least developed countries, has naturalized 162,000 former Burundians during the past year. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says Tanzania’s action is unprecedented both for the number of people involved and for the fact that they are now citizens, rather than merely legal residents. Tens of thousands of the new citizens became eligible to vote in the hotly contested national election on Oct. 25.

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Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Naturalisation and Marriage, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: East Africa, Tanzania
Year: 2015