President Jakaya Kikwete has presented certificates of Tanzanian citizenship to former 162,156 refugees from Burundi who fled to Tanzania 42 years ago in 1972 amid conflicts in their country.

President Jakaya Kikwete President Jakaya Kikwete[/caption] The head of state presented the certificates which recognise the former refugees as Tanzanian citizens, at the Tabora Regional Commissioner’s offices on Tuesday evening during his two-day tour of the region to inspect development projects. Mr Kikwete presented the certificates to 19 naturalised citizens on behalf of their counterparts. The event was attended, by among others, the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Mathias Chikawe and the Representative of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tanzania. It was also attended by ambassadors of United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Belgium as well as the Representative of the European Union in Tanzania, a representative of Japan envoy in Tanzania as well as Archbishop Paul Ruzoka of Tabora Catholic Archdiocese. Naturalisation of the former refugees culminates a process initiated by President Kikwete in 2007, when he decided that Tanzania would grant them citizenship. They fled to Tanzania following conflicts in the small country in 1972 and have been living in refugee camps in Tabora Region. At the occasion, the UNHCR Representative in Tanzania, Ms Joyce Mends-Cole, said Tanzania had made a record in the world’s history by naturalising the highest number of former refugees at once. Speaking on behalf of diplomats accredited to Tanzania, the Ambassador of Ireland, Fionnula Gilsenan, hailed the move by Tanzania, describing the decision by President Kikwete as ‘distinguished and commendable.’ Mr Kikwete advised the naturalised citizens to abide by the laws of Tanzania and urged them to adhere to the oath that they will be good citizen. *Source in2eastafrica/Tanzania Daily]]>

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