PRESIDENT Lungu has called on the international community to increase their support to African countries hosting refugees to help facilitate the education and livelihood opportunities for the displaced victims.
And the head of State says Government is considering extending the offer of local integration to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) refugees who have been in Zambia for more than 10 years and have no intention of returning to their country.
President Lungu said managing refugees requires huge resources and burden sharing with the international community.
Mr Lungu said Zambia will maintain its open-door policy and ensure refugees are protected, and have access to education and livelihood opportunities in line with the commitments it made at last year’s New York Leaders’ Summit.
He said Zambia is implementing phase two of a model local integration programme for former Angolan and Rwandan refugees who were not willing to return to their countries of origin.
President Lungu was speaking in Kampala yesterday when he addressed delegates at the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees.
“Coming from a country that had been home to more than 300,000 refugees in the past, we understand and appreciate the strain that comes with hosting large numbers of refugees.
“Host governments such as Uganda, Zambia and many more in Africa need to be consistently and adequately supported by the international community,” he said.
He showered accolades on Uganda, which is looking after one million refugees, for its commitment towards accommodating refugees and channelling the nation’s resources towards bettering their welfare.
“Zambia recognises the great sacrifices the people and government of Uganda have made in providing sanctuary to people who have been displaced and forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence in their countries,” he said.
He also applauded the innovative approach Uganda has adopted in responding to increased pressure of hosting refugees in view of the rapid increase in the number of refugees, especially from South Sudan.
“Zambia stands ready in the spirit of Ubuntu and Pan-Africanism to support the government of Uganda in any way possible to address the refugee challenge,” Mr Lungu said.
Speaking at the same function, United Nations (UN) secretary general Antonio Guterres said the call on the international community to step up their support to hosting nations of refugees cannot be over-emphasised.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi also attended the two-day summit, which ended yesterday.