The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Malawi has applauded the government and people of Malawi for opening their doors to Mozambican asylum seekers in need of international protection.
The Mozambican asylum seekers are running away from civil war in their country between the government soldiers and the opposition RENAMO party rebels.
UNHCR Representative in Malawi, Ms Monique Ekoko, said Malawi has demonstrated that it has a ‘big and warm heart’, by accepting Mozambican asylum-seekers at a time that amid tough economic times occasioned by a severe drought and floods in some parts of the country.
Ekoko urged Malawi to continue to live up to its international obligations by maintaining the unblemished high reputation of being a harbour of hospitality to persons in need of international protection.
She further mentioned that the act of granting asylum by Malawi to persons fleeing violence is a friendly act, and should not be construed otherwise.
Ekoko assured the government and people of Malawi that UNHCR will do everything within its means to assist in mobilising resources from the international community to assist the Mozambican asylum-seekers and the host community.
Since last December, Malawi has seen an increase in new arrivals from Mozambique, peaking at more than 250 people per day in early March. The numbers have since decreased significantly, but those who have managed to cross have informed UNHCR that they are turning to alternate routes due to increased military presence along the border.
Four weeks ago, the government authorised UNHCR to start relocating , Mozambican asylum-seekers to Luwani, from Kapise and other transit centres in the country.
On 15 April, a first group of 82 asylum-seekers left Nsanje district to Luwani and a major relocation from Kapise in Mwanza where over 10, 000 Mozambican asylum-seekers are resident, to Luwani refugee camp in Neno, will starttomorrow this week..
Malawi already hosts some 25,000 refugees and asylum-seekers mostly from the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa in Dzaleka camp located some 35kms from Lilongwe.
This camp is already stretched to capacity, with severely limited resources to assist refugees.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :