High Court defers ruling on State’s application for injunction vacation on refugees’ relocation

The High Court in Blantyre has adjourned to Friday, 16 July 2021, hearing of an application by the State to vacate injunctions refugees and asylum seekers sought to stop their relocation to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.

The cause of disagreement is the definition of the words ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ in the notice of relocation.

While, the State said that the directive for relocation only concerns those residing in rural areas and not those in urban areas, it was observed that even those living in urban areas such as Mangochi, Kasungu, Zomba, Liwonde, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe were equally served with the notice of relocation.

We bring a lot of skills and business opportunities to Malawi government

And after concluding hearing of submissions on Friday, presiding Judge Mandala Mambulasa adjourned the case till Friday 16th of July 2021 when he will deliver a judgment on whether or not the more than 500 families of refugees and asylum-seekers that are claimants to the case have sufficient interest for the judicial review to commence.

Prominent local and international non-governmental organizations have voiced their concerns over the proposed forced relocation of self-reliant refugees, school-attending pupils, refugees married with Malawian, sickly people who have to receive treatment in hospitals outside of the camp as well as children born in Malawi.

They stress that the Dzaleka Refugee Camp is already over-congested and that adding more numbers to the population would expose the immigrants to various human rights abuses and violations.

Some of these organizations are Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Human Rights Defence Coalition (HRDC), the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Already, some refugees and asylum-seekers families have fled the country following the government declaration that it would relocate them to Dzaleka.

A representative of the concerned refugees, Leopold Bantubino Bizimungu, a 59-year-old Burundian who lives in Mchinji, told Nyasa Times that some refugee families drowned in the Indian Ocean June 16, 2021, as they attempted to cross the ocean to Mayotte.

Bizimungu said more than 60 people, including many refugees originating from Malawi, have lost their lives after the boat they were in capsized several kilometer off the coast of Mozambique.

He asked Malawians and the government to consider integrating them and allow to continue with their lives as they also positively continue to participate to the socio-economic development of Malawi.

“We are asking the Malawian justice system to ensure that internationally acknowledged basic human rights such as freedom of movement, right to life, rights of children and sickly are included in the Malawian constitution through the update of the Refugee Act.

“This act dates from 1989 when Malawi was experiencing huge refugees and asylum-seekers influx from Mozambique. Anno-2021, the situation has immensely changed not least the by Malawi’s recent adherence to the United Nations and African Unions declarations and treaties that govern refugees and asylum-seekers as well as those insuring the basic human rights for every human being,” said Bizimungu.

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Political commentator

So Refugees and assylum seekers are pushing for a change and update of our own constitution? Kumasuka kwabwanji uku


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