Government backs refugees relocation exercise

By Judgement katika

The Ministry of Homeland Security has backed the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district saying the exercise is being operated within the law.

This follows a press statement issued on Tuesday by human rights bodies working under the banner joint Civil Society Organizations that are calling for government to immediately stop the relocation exercise of refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district.

The Civil Society Organizations are arguing that the exercise has been tainted by a gross of human rights violation.

Responding to the concern raised, Homeland Security Public Relations Officer Patrick Botha says the exercise is being operated under the law as it is being guided by the 1989 Refugees Act which is currently under review.

Botha stressed that Government is committed to support refugees and asylum seekers by among others ensuring that their rights are being protected and respected.

Botha has since disclosed that investigations are underway to find the culprits and any form of human rights violation suspected to have happened during and after the relocation exercise.

Botha has since clarified that Maula prison was just used to temporarily keep the refugees and asylum seekers to screen their documentation in readiness for their relocation to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

” Malawi has an obligation to offer protection to refugees and asylum seekers but at the same time, refugees and asylum seekers also have the obligation to follow the laws of the land.

The exercise is being done within the law, relevant stakeholders are looking into the matter to see if there was any form of human rights violation and those found to have violated the rights of refugees and asylum seekers will face the law,” He explained.

By Sunday, at least 2,189 refugees had returned to the camp.

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