Advocate condemns threats to refugees

Advocate condemns threats to refugees

Refugee advocate Innocent Magambi has condemned threats made by Small-scale Business Operators Association to forcibly relocate refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

This follows sentiments that the association’s chairperson Tennyson Mulimbula made on Monday in Lilongwe when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism.

Dzaleka refugee camp

He warned that all refugees from their communities if lawmakers do not help them on the calls for refugees to relocate to Dzaleka they will forcibly remove them from their communities.

Said Mulimbula: “If they do not help on the matter, the association will leave it to its members to do whatever they plan, to push the refugees out of the communities.”

The meeting followed a petition that the association presented to Parliament in December 2022, to push for the refugees relocation, arguing that their presence in the communities is affecting their businesses.

It comes a few days to the expiry date of February 1 2023 for the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers residing in urban areas to Dzaleka as directed by the Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza in November 2022.

The deadline for those residing in rural areas was November 30, 2022 but it was met with an injunction, and the refugees remain in the communities.

However, Magambi said the statement borders on xenophobia.

He said: “What they are saying is not far from what some South Africans—who believe that African migrants, especially Malawians are a threat to their livelihood— have been saying.

“This can only be acceptable to those who believe that causing xenophobia against human beings, especially Africans is a good thing.”

Magambi advised the association to find new ways of conducting their businesses to be competitive than attacking asylum seekers and refugees.

During the committee meeting, Mulimbula also claimed that corruption around the refugees’ relocation is deep-rooted, which he said explains why after years of pushing for their relocation, nothing is happening.

Committee member Ben Phiri, who stood in for the chairperson, said the case of refugees relocation is valid and promised that they will lobby for it.

“It is indeed true that all the countries where some of the refugees come from such as Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo are now peaceful and thriving,” he said. The country hosts about 52 678 refugees and asylum seekers. Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa receives an average of 300 new arrivals per month.

The post Advocate condemns threats to refugees first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post Advocate condemns threats to refugees appeared first on The Nation Online.

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