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Malawi orders integration of refugees in overcrowded camp

Dzaleka refugee camp already suffers from extreme overcrowding

The federal government of Malawi has ordered hundreds of refugees who’ve built-in into society to settle within the nation’s solely refugee camp.

A few of the refugees have lived in Malawi for years, establishing companies and marrying Malawians.

However now authorities say they pose a menace to nationwide safety by residing amongst native individuals.

Some refugees stated they might resist the order to go to the overcrowded Dzaleka camp.

The deadline for transferring to the camp was initially April 28, however a brief court docket injunction offered a quick respite.

The camp, positioned about 40 km (30 miles) north of the capital, Lilongwe, can accommodate as much as 14,000 refugees, however now hosts almost 50,000. A whole lot extra arrive every month, most coming from of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We’re not chasing them, and we simply need them to be the place they need to be,” Homeland Safety Minister Richard Chimwendo advised AFP information company.

“Those that have companies … must function from Dzaleka. If they’re married, they’ve to use for everlasting residence. We’re not sending them again to their nation.”

The United Nations refugee company (UNHCR) in Malawi estimates that round 2,000 refugees are affected by the order. He stated the directive was in keeping with the nation’s encampment legal guidelines, however warned of “critical human rights implications” and urged the federal government to rethink.

Refugees at Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district, central region of Malawi in 2018Refugees at Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district, central region of Malawi in 2018

Dzaleka camp amenities already stretched, UN warns

In an e mail to AFP, UNHCR stated the camp’s well being amenities, water provide and faculties can be additional strained by the transfer.

Human rights teams have additionally expressed concern. Reward Trapence, who chairs the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, known as on the federal government of Malawi to guard the property of refugees.

“We do not wish to see eventualities the place individuals will take benefit to grab or loot the belongings of refugees,” he stated.

UNHCR – citing an official communication from the Ministry of Homeland Safety – stated the order was additionally as a consequence of “safety considerations so as to defend each refugees and host communities following the unstable scenario within the nation. Cabo Delgado area in Mozambique “.

The province of Cabo Delgado has lengthy skilled instability, however there was a pointy enhance in militant assaults in current months. The native al-Shabab militia within the area are stated to have ties to the broader Islamic State (IS) group.

Mr. Chimwendo, nevertheless, denied that the choice was linked to the insurgency. He admitted that the camp was overcrowded, however stated: “We’re searching for one of the best ways to kind this out.”

A refugee, Jean Minani, advised AFP he fled Burundi 13 years in the past and sought asylum in Malawi the place he now runs a meals retailer.

He stated transferring to Dzaleka can be “unimaginable” for him and his household.

“We’re not comfy (with the concept),” he stated.

Kanamula John, who represents Rwandan refugees in Dzaleka, stated overcrowding was a giant concern, including: “A few of us have married Malawian ladies and a few Malawian males have married refugees. We do not know what’s going to occur. to our youngsters. “

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