Tanzania gives citizenship to 162,000 Burundi refugees
KATUMBA, 16 April 2010 (BBC)—The UN has praised Tanzania for granting citizenship to some 162,000 refugees who fled Burundi 38 years ago.
"It's the most generous naturalisation of refugees anywhere," said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.
UNHCR head Antonio Guterres described it as a "historic moment" and urged other countries with long-term refugees to follow Tanzania's example.
Until 2000, Tanzania had one of Africa's largest refugee populations, 680,000, from Burundi and DR Congo.
Some 350,000 Burundians have returned home in recent years, says the UNHCR.
A UN spokeswoman said most of those granted Tanzanian nationality were Hutus. They had mostly fled conflict with the Tutsi-dominated army.
The spokeswoman said they were already integrated into Tanzanian society and were not living in refugee camps, reports the Reuters news agency.