Kahuzi Biega National Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List under criterion (iv) in 1980, and Virunga National Park, inscribed under criteria (ii)(iii)(iv) in 1979, both contain the last population of mountain gorillas.
Due to the tragic events in Rwanda, both parks are under threat given the massive arrival of refugees from Rwanda. On 31 August 1994 the World Heritage Centre was informed that a UNHCR refugees camp for 50,000 people was going to be established near a three-kilometre strip of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park near Ihembe. The World Heritage Centre contacted immediately the UNHCR (Geneva), the Director of IZCN, Mr. Mankoto Ma Mbaelele, (Kinshasa), who was carrying out monitoring missions at World Heritage sites in Zaire, and a bilateral project by the GTZ (Germany). The Centre obtained relocation of the camp near Uvira which took the pressure from the site.
However, in spite of the relocation of the camp, the entire region and particularly Virunga National Park, situated at the border between Rwanda and Uganda has been destabilized by the uncontrolled arrival of refugees causing deforestation and poaching at the sites. In order to assist Zaire in this critical state and to help stabilize the situation, the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee approved a total of US$ 50,000 emergency assistance for both sites, Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Virunga National Park. With the relocation of the camp, the Kahuzi-Biega World Heritage site seems to be less threatened, whereas the situation at Virunga National Park remains very critical.