Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Don’t send refugees away, Zambian Government told

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The Zambian Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU) has implored the Zambian Government not to send away refugees to third countries for resettlement but fully integrate them into the Zambian Society.

And ZCLU has commended Home Affairs Minister Jack Mwiimbu for his advocacy during the 74th Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme in Geneva aimed at securing an increased operational budget for refugees and fostering greater opportunities for Zambian employment within the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), both locally and internationally.

In a press statement released by ZCLU deputy executive director Maurice Makalu, the organisation said keeping refugees in Zambia, rather than relocating them to third-world countries in Europe and the Western world, can bring significant economic benefits to the nation.

‘European and Western countries have effectively harnessed the skills and hard work of refugees to boost their GDP growth – a potential that Zambia, and many other African nations, should not ignore as a means of advancing economic development,” said Mr. Makalu.

ZCLU has however bemoaned the low deliverables associated with the utilisation of international refugee funds by the Zambian government, which it has claims continue to raise concerns among the international donor community that offer support to for refugee programmes.

“Despite generous contributions from governments such as Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Germany and the World Bank who allocated support for local integration programs in the past, there had been a glaring absence of tangible outcomes for refugees on the part of the previous Zambian government,” he said.

ZCLU has also observed extended delays by both previous and current Zambian governments in facilitating the naturalization of refugees eligible under the Refugees Act and the Constitution.

Mr Makalu has urged Minister Mwiimbu to take decisive action by invoking Section 49 of the Refugees Act as a way of demonstrating a stronger commitment to providing lasting solutions for refugees and their integration into Zambian society.

He said the ZCLU still believes the Hichilema administration has an opportunity to still address refugee challenges differently but that such will require a show leadership with courage, commitment, accountability, transparency, inclusivity and humanity.

9 COMMENTS

  1. We Africans are just pathetic when it comes to treating fellow Africans. Hope Mr Hichilema does things differently. These refugees, treated well, can indeed contribute to our economic productivity and growth

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  2. Zambia has already paid its dues to liberate other people, some of whom now despise us because we spent our money freeing them in stead of building skyscrapers in our cities. Everyone is now free, and it cannot be our job to be baby sitting people from other countries. The claim that refugees automatically bring economic prosperity is not true. This only works in rich countries where refugees do menial jobs for which there is no local labour. In Zambia, our own people have no work, and bringing more unskilled labour just makes poor Zambians poorer. Zambia is already full of Congolese, Malawians, Zimbabweans, Rwandese, Angolans etc etc… Our people are now fighting each other over land. When are going to prioritise the needs of Zambians over those of foreigners?

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  3. Most refugees especially those who are educated or a bit educated are the ones who want to go to the Western World and then some refugees have cultures that make them fail to integrate. How are you going to integrate a refugee from Somalia who comes from a culture of looking down upon Bantus and ignorantly believes he/she is not African and has a violent and disorderly behavior? How can such be integrated when their dreaming is to go and live among whites where some of them become violent?

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