Peter’s Story

Peter was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he lived with his wife and three young children. He was a local political leader associated with the dominant political party. When a new political party came into power, members of his party were persecuted and murdered.

Peter was terrified that his children would be murdered, or that they would be left as orphans in a volatile, violent situation if he and his wife were killed. He and his family fled by land, crossing the border into Tanzania in October 2000 and eventually arriving in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar Es Salaam.

In 2005, Peter was arrested by Tanzanian police. They released him with a deportation order that required him to leave Tanzania and return to DRC. Fearing for his life and the life of his family, Peter could not return home, so he sought government permission to remain legally in Tanzania. The Ministry of Home Affairs decided that he and his family should remain in a refugee camp in Kigoma, near the border with Congo.

Peter knew his family would not be safe so near Congo. Instead of going to the camp, he and his family remained secretly in Dar Es Salaam. Peter supports his family on a small wage from working in a tailor shop and is constantly at risk of arrest and detention living without a residency permit.

In October 2010, Peter approached Asylum Access Tanzania for help. Although his options are limited, we are helping him to obtain a work permit, which provides some protection from arrest. Although the situation for urban refugees in Tanzania is still difficult, our help allows refugees like Peter to obtain legal advice about their options and to assert their rights to the protection that is available, even as we continue to advocate for increased rights for refugees.

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