The mass naturalisation and further integration of Rwandese refugees in Tanzania: Process, problems and prospects

Published: 1/Jan/1990
Source: Journal of Refugee Studies

Charles P Gasarasi, “The Mass Naturalization and Further Integration of Rwandese Refugees in Tanzania: Process, Problems and Prospects” Journal of Refugee Studies (1990) 3 (2)


This paper attempts to reconstruct the process which led to Tanzania’s policy of mass naturalization of Rwandese refugees, to shed light on the inadequate implementation of the policy, to highlight the negative consequences of this implementational ineptitude, and to discuss the problems and prospects of further integration for both the de jure and de facto naturalized Rwandese. During the early days of exile, most Rwandese refugees resented measures designed to foster their durable settlement in Tanzania. As the hope of return home faded, utilitarian considerations and political vulnerability produced an outcry for naturalization. Tanzania’s benevolent response of mass naturalization has not been matched by a smooth implementation process. Problems and irregularities have marked the process, which remains incomplete. Although some applicants for naturalization remain caught up in a bureaucratic quagmire, successful applicants enjoy their new citizenship and the prospects for their post-naturalization integration look bright. In the event that the new international pressure for the repatriation of Rwandese refugees succeeds, certain categories of Rwandese in Tanzania may succumb to mass defection and return to Rwanda. Despite the implementational flaws in Tanzania’s mass naturalization policy, the policy itself is worthy of praise and deserves to be emulated by other countries of asylum in Africa.

External file here.

Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Acquisition by children, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: East Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania
Year: 1990