Refugees settled in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, mainly come from Burundi but there are also other refugees originating from Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia and the Comoros Islands. In 2011,as many as 20 000 were living in the capital city of Tanzania (Asylum access).
Marc Sommers distinguishes 4 urban refugee profiles in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania:
Most refugees lack legal documentation and thus keep a low profile. Only 36 % of the respondents to a study held by William Roos in 2005 had registered with UNHCR, be it at its office in Dar Es Salaam or in one of the refugee camps (see the Online Resources section of this page).
Before fleeing to Tanzania, most refugees now living in Dar Es Salaam were originally urban citizens in their country of origin.
1951 Convention: Signatory
1969 OAU Convention on the Refugee Problems in Africa: signatory
1995 Immigration Act: prevents refugees to live outside the so called “designated areas” (refugee camps). Only those having a “geniune” security concern if they live in the refugee camp are entitled to live in urban areas. Any refugee who self settled in an urban area without permission is considered as an illegal immigrant and may face penalities, sanctions or even deportation for such.
1998 Tanzania Refugees Act: only those refugees residing in the “designated areas” of the country are entitled to receive humanitarian assistance. Living outside of the camp without permission is still considered as an offence
2003: policy document focusing on refugee admission procedure and refugee rights, treatment and state obligation.
2010 Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat : established a cooperation with other East Africa countries on “the protection of forcibly displaced people, immigration regulations and refugee movements” (UNHCR, 2012).
The Tanzanian government currently aims at ending the refugee situation in the country. Refugees are encouraged to live the two remaining refugee camps, Nyarugusu and Mtabila, and those who are unwilling to repatriate tend to self settle in Dar Es Salaam.
Willems, Roos (2005), Coping with displacement: Social Networking among Refugees, in Itaru Ohta & Yntiso D. Gebre (eds.) Displacement Risks in Africa: Refugees, Resettlers and their Host Populations. Trans Pacific Press, Australia, pp. 53-77.
Sommers, Marc (1999) Urbanisation and its discontents: urban refugees in Tanzania, Forced Migration Review, n° 4
Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter and Janemary Ruhundwa (2010), No Place Called Home, a report on Urban refugees living in Dar Es Salaam, Asylum Access
Willems, Roos (2003), Embedding the refugee experience: forced migration and social networks in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, PhD Dissertation University of Florida
Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter and Janemary Ruhundwa, Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Urban Refugees in Tanzania, Africa Law Today, Volume 4, Issue 1
“O’Loghlen and McWilliams (2016) The nexus of displacement, asset vulnerability and the Right to the City: the case of the refugees and urban poor of Dar es Salaam Tanzania”, the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, Vol 8 (2).