“Two People Can’t Share the Same Pair of Shoes”: Citizenship, Land and the Return of Refugees to Burundi
Source: International Refugee Rights Initiative
The paper is the second of a series of working papers that form part of a collaborative project between the International Refugee Rights Initiative, the Social Science Research Council, and civil society and academic partners in the Great Lakes region. The project seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the linkages between conflicts over citizenship and belonging in the Great Lakes region, and forced displacement.
This paper tracks the experience of refugees returning to southern Burundi and re-asserting their citizenship. Most have been living in exile in Tanzania – some since the early 1990s, and others since 1972. Some were born in exile and have never been to Burundi before. Others left when they were children, while others can still remember the horrors that forced them to flee. Although the paper set out to explore the process of return and reintegration in general, access to land quickly emerged as the most critical issue.