EDITORIAL: Refugee burden is universal

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The refugees situation in Tanzania is in a quandary bordering on a crisis. The country has been home to refugees for decades, mostly from troubled countries in the Great Lakes Region.

But things are rapidly changing, leading to a dilemma.

What should happen when, for instance, the reasons that resulted in refugees flocking into Tanzania have ceased to exist, but the victims are nonetheless unable, unwilling or unready to return home despite being offered assistance to do so?

It costs a fortune to host refugees in their hundreds of thousands for decades, spending money that should have financed all-inclusive socioeconomic development for the hosts.

Indeed, sympathetic development partners like the Nordic countries, UN agencies and USAID do chip in with aid for the upkeep of refugees, but this is losing steam. Besides, spasmodic interventions by countries like Ireland are indeed helpful, but for how long?

Countries like Tanzania are compelled into hosting refugees by circumstances beyond their control and, as such, deserve to be aided by all possible ways and means. After all, refugees are a universal, common burden that must be universally shared.