Govt commits to addressing concerns by asylum seekers

The refugee community has urged the government to provide job opportunities to qualified asylum seekers.

This statement was made as Malawi joined the global community in commemorating World Refugee Day on Thursday, an event observed annually at the Dzaleka camp in Dowa.

Abdikarim Taashir Ismael said there are numerous challenges faced by refugees in the country, including food shortages, restrictions on education, and limitations on conducting business outside the camp. These issues, he said, are severely impacting their well-being.

Ismael also appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to increase their support, noting that the 9,000 kwacha monthly allowance is insufficient to meet daily needs.

“I urge different organizations to support us with food because the assistance we receive is not enough. I also request the government of Malawi to extend its help by granting refugees the freedom to move, conduct business, and access job opportunities,” said Ismael.

Elton Phulusa, the Dzaleka camp manager, echoed Ismael’s concerns, expressing worry about the camp’s congestion, lack of space, and inadequate social services.

“For instance, Dzaleka registers two hundred births every month and receives over 30 new refugees per day, putting immense pressure on accessing social services,” said Phulusa.

Phulusa also urged the government to expedite the relocation of the Dzaleka camp to Chitipa to help decongest the current site.

However, Erica Maganga, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security, stated that the government is fully aware of the problems at Dzaleka.

Maganga added that the ministry is committed to protecting genuine refugees and asylum seekers who abide by Malawi’s laws and does not tolerate the presence of firearms or the abuse of immigration and asylum regulations in the country.

The Malawi Law Society has initiated a review of the 1989 Refugees Act to create a more favorable legal environment for refugees, alongside the ongoing plans to relocate the camp to Chitipa district.

 

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