Malawi Parliament accused of perpetrating xenophobia against Burundian
Malawi Parliament has endorsed government’s ‘operation chotsa ma Burundi‘ (Expel the Burundians), a sweeping exercise which seeks to relocate refugees from various areas across the country back to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.
In a statement, Chairpersons of parliamentary committees of the Defense and Security, International Relations and Trade and Industry have supported the move, saying government is acting according to the laws governing refugees.
“We have noted that the action by government follows the behavior of some refugees whose conduct in living and doing business outside designated refugee camps without any permit is inconsistent with the law that regulates refugees and asylum seekers in this country,” reads the statement in part.
The three committees in a statement endorsed by Joyce Chitsulo, Chairperson of the Committee of Chairpersons says: “As a member of the United Nations which has domesticated some UN Conventions on refugees, the Malawi government is acting within the law governing refugees in the country.
“What some of the refugees were doing by freely wondering around and in certain cases operating business without permits, was recipe for chaos and rendered our laws on refugees almost useless,” reads the statement in part.
However, John Moses, a human rights activist has warned government about implementing some of these decisions which are very unafrican and can lead to loss of lives and attacks against Malawians living abroad.
“This xenophobic decisions should not be implemented by the Malawi Police and President Chakwera must be aware that this will cause problems in the country.
“We have Malawians living in other countries where they have established their lives and businesses, can we be glad to see them suffer? As black Africans, we should be seeking greater integration of our economies, movement and cultures as we see intermarriages happening. This is very wrong and such xenophobic politicians should be removed at once,” said John Moses.
The Parliamentary committees have therefore reiterated that they would not want to see lawlessness prevail in the manner in which refugees behave in this country.
The committees have therefore strongly encouraged the minister of Homeland Security to ensure that the exercise continues within the law and observance of human rights by the law enforcers.