ZAMBIA: REFUGEES/ZNBC/5/10/18 SABANews 1
LUSAKA – ZAMBIA has assured the UNITED NATIONS High Commission for Refugees it remains committed to fulfil its international obligation to refugees and persons of concern.
Home Affairs Minister STEPHEN KAMPYONGO says the government will continue to give asylum to people who flee their country for different reasons in line with provisions of the law.
ZNBC News quotes him as saying his country will not turn away anyone with sufficient reasons to get in, but the State will not help persons evading the law in their countries of origin.
Minister KAMPYONGO has made the remarks in a meeting with the High Commissioner for Refugees, FILIPPO GRANDI, on the side-lines of the 69TH Session of the UN Executive Committee in GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.
High Commissioner GRANDI has in turn, commended the ZAMBIAN Government for hosting asylum seekers in the SADC country, which among nations doing very well in hosting refugees from different places.
A 2014 report by the world body says ZAMBIA has hosted refugees from the region since the 1960s.
It says as of mid-2014, some 54-THOUSAND exiles and other people of concern like asylum seekers, stateless and internally displaced people resided mostly in the TWO refugee camps of MEHEBA and MAYUKWAYUKWA.
The majority are from ANGOLA, more than 22-THOUSAND; DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, more than 18-THOUSAND; and RWANDA, about FOUR-THOUSAND, according to the World Bank Group study of 2015.
The UN High Commission for Refugees says many ANGOLAN refugees have stayed for more than 40 years, with some having been born and brought up in ZAMBIA as SECOND or THIRD generation refugees.
The world body says the authorities have repatriated more than 16-THOUSAND ANGOLAN refugees and former exiles to ANGOLA, which is now considered to be safe following the end of UNITA banditry in the SADC country.
Meanwhile, ZAMBIA has pledged to locally integrate 10-THOUSAND former ANGOLAN refugees and FOUR-THOUSAND former RWANDAN refugees.
To facilitate the process, the State has allocated settlement areas, with FIRST ANGOLANS granted permanent residency permits in 2012 – giving them access to the same rights as ZAMBIAN nationals.
The UNITED NATIONS says refugees in both MAYUKWAYUKWA and MEHEBA have limited livelihood chances and are broadly economically marginalised, making it difficult to meet survival needs and leading many to rely on donor aid./Sabanews/cam