Sunday, June 16, 2024

Give Refugees Zambian Citizenship,ZCLU urges government

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According to the Zambian Constitution, a person who was born in or has continuously lived in Zambia for 10 years and has attained the age of 18 years is entitled to be registered as citizen.

Refugees and their children who have lived in Zambia for more than 10 years should be registered as citizens of Zambia.

The Zambian Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU) Deputy Executive Director, Maurice Makalu, has disclosed that his organisation has officially written to government to respect provisions of the Zambian Constitution and the UN Convention on Refugees on registration of eligible refugees as citizens.

“We have institutionalised the treatment of former refugees like criminals in this country but being a refugee is a not a crime,” he said.

Mr Makalu said Article 37 of the Constitution entitles eligible refugees, like any other person, to register and be granted the citizenship of Zambia.

“We are concerned that some people we call refugees have lived in this country for than 20 years; some of their children were been born here and continue benefit from our resources and socials services such as free education and yet we continue to discriminate against them and fail to tap into their potential to contribute towards developing Zambia and growing our GDP.”

According to the Zambian Constitution, a person who has continuously lived in Zambia for 10 years and has attained the age of 18 years is entitled to be registered as citizen.

The amended Constitution also provide for registration of children who were born and have lived in Zambia for a period of 5 years Zambian citizens.

Mr Makalu says the Zambian Government should end the discrimination against refugees and their children by treating them like any other person who can apply and be granted citizenship of Zambia.

He observed that countries which are fast-developing in the world rely on the education, skills and labour of both its citizens and foreign nationals such as refugees.

He said it was disheartening to see former refugees who have refused to go back to their countries being treated like common criminals in Zambia.

Some of the inferior laws we have made in this country are directly in contravention of the Constitution, the UN, AU and SADC instruments on refugees and should not be allowed to stand.

Mr Makalu said the ZCLU will not run to court but will engage government to correct this measure.

“The courts will be our last option to pursue if engagement and dialogue with government fails but we think Government must bring stakeholders on board to correct this discrimination which is happening against refugees and their children.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Only give them of they agree to sign an agreement saying they will always vote for upnd in perpetuity

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  2. I think the sentiments by Mr Makalu are overly exaggerated, refugees in Zambia enjoy a lot of freedom and I’m a humanitarian worker. Noone discriminates against refugees in Zambia. There’s no xenophobia in my beloved Zambia

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