President Edgar Lungu has raised concern over the high number of refugees fleeing political conflict from Congo DR into Zambia and has called for international support to help contain the crisis and to care for asylum seekers.
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda says President Lungu expressed his concern when he attended a high level side meeting called by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the SADC Troika to discuss the situation in the DRC.
Mr. Chanda said President Lungu said Zambia will need the international support to enable the country manage the refugee crisis due to civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The head of state has expressed concern over the influx of refugees running away from the political conflicts in Congo DR, and as a result the President held a high level meeting with UN secretary general to engage the international community to assist the country,” Mr. Chanda said.
Zambia is receiving about 500 refugees on daily basis from Congo DR who are seeking asylum in Zambia.
Mr. Chanda said the President has appealed to the international community for support not only to contain the crisis but also take care of asylum seekers.
And United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has praised President Edgar Lungu for leading Zambia’s robust efforts against human trafficking, forced labour and child marriages, among other vices.
Speaking on the subject matter entitled ‘ Eradication of Modern Slavery, Forced Labour and Human Trafficking “ at the United Nations on Wednesday, Mrs. May encouraged President Lungu to press on with the impressive efforts Zambia has put in place so far.
According to Mr. Chanda, the United Kingdom Premier assured President Lungu of her administration ‘s commitment to supporting Zambia in fight against modern slavery and other vices.
And President Lungu said government has remained concerned that the country has become a source of transit and destination for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and modern slavery.
He said the trafficking which is occurring within the country’s borders involves victims usually being sourced from vulnerable communities especially in rural areas.
The Head of State however informed Ms May that his administration has put in place measures to redress the vice which includes enacting a robust human trafficking legislation in 2008 whose aim is to eradicate all forms of trafficking by prosecuting offenders and the rehabilitation of victims.
President Lungu said government has welcomed the convening of the meeting of the United Nations 2010 global action plan to combat trafficking.
He said Zambia is looking forward to the adoption of the outcome document by the general assembly which has emphasized the need to intensify international cooperation , and includes capacity building and technical assistance for developing countries.