MINISTRY of Home Affairs permanent secretary Mulenga Chileshe has called on Zambians to observe and respect the rights of migrants.
Dr Chileshe said refugees contribute towards economic growth and human development in both home and host countries and enrich societies through cultural diversity, fostering understanding and respect among peoples, cultures and societies.
Speaking during the International Migrants Day on Friday, Dr Chileshe said Government is committed to addressing challenges of migrants.
“Government is committed to address, challenges related to migration by valuing the need to protect vulnerable people on the move, including victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied and separated children and also putting in place adequate mechanisms,” he said.
Dr Chileshe also said migration is not a problem to be solved, but a reality that can be managed.
“It is nonetheless encouraging to note that migration has formally been included in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development with the adoption of specific targets on migration,” Dr Chileshe said.
And UNHCR representative Laura lo Castro said Zambia acknowledges that refugees, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and farmers, who recently lost their refugee status can positively contribute to the economy of the country.
She said Zambia has shown the world that it is a nation that welcomes different kind of people.
Meanwhile, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) director general William Swing said it is unfortunate that sections of the media and society have sought to paint migration as a social evil and a spawning ground for fanaticism.
“I see an anti-migrant sentiment beginning to seethe. I see political malaise; an absence of courage, a bankruptcy of leadership and a paucity of moral sensitivity,” she said.
He has commended Zambia for showing generosity amidst high numbers of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants.