Renowned governance and human rights advocate Undule Mwakasungula has warned the government against taking a unilateral and hasty decision on the relocation of refugees from Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa to Katili in Karonga or Chitipa.
Mwakasungula, in a statement issued last evening, says the proposal or call to shift the refugees needs a wider and inclusive consultation.
“It is important to note that this call is not a remedy to the problem, but just one of those alternatives in trying to find solutions to the refugee’s challenges and influx of refugees to Malawi.
“First, lessons must be learnt from the experiences at Dzeleka Refugee Camp to avert the challenges, which are giving government pressure in hosting the refugees and asylum seekers. Shifting them to Karonga or Chitipa is not a solution, as other factors must be seriously looked into,” he says
Mwakasungula suggests that the government, in consultation with UNHCR, “must repatriate some refugees and asylum seeks back to their countries to ease pressure on the nation” considering that some of the countries where the refugees or asylum seekers are coming from are not at peace.
He argues that being a refugee is not a profession.
“As the saying goes ‘East or West, home is the best.’ Therefore, voluntary repatriation of some the refugees must be highly recommended to reduce the refugee’s population and pressure on the government and the nation as a whole,” suggests Mwakasungula.
On the other hand, Mwakasungula emphasizes the need for the Malawi Government to seriously deal with refugees’ trafficking syndicates in borders of Malawi.
It is documented that most of these refugees cross into Malawi helped by citizens who include public officials.
Mwakasungula says this is human trafficking and those involved must seriously be punished to stop this evil.
He adds that efforts must also be enhanced to engage other bordering countries like Tanzania, which is used largely by a number of refugees and asylum seekers to cross into Malawi as an entry point.
“Further joint cross border patrols must be enhanced by Malawi and Tanzania security organs. Lastly, as we take into consideration the rights and protection of refugees, our national security and interests must be paramount.
“If we have refuges and asylum seekers crossing into Malawi everyday that is a serious national concern. If we have some refugees corruptly acquiring our national IDs and business licenses that a matter of more serious concern for national security,” emphasizes Mwakasungula.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :