Erica Maganga commits to provide safe haven to refugees

Erica Maganga said the Government will continue extending support to refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi.

Erica Maganga commits to provide safe haven to refugees, Image: facebook
Erica Maganga commits to provide safe haven to refugees, Image: facebook

Malawi: Erica Maganga said the Government will continue extending support to refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi. The announcement was made at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa commemorating World Refugee Day.

At the same time, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security, Erica Maganga called refugees to honor the laws of the country. Maganga said Malawi continues to be a nation that has opened her doors to people fleeing conflict and persecution.

Malawi has been from their countries, offering them sanctuary, dignity and hope away from their respective homes.

“Today we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the principles of compassion, generosity and solidarity that defines us as a people. We stand as a beacon of hope in a world too often marked by division and discord, demonstrating that when we come together in cohesion, there is no challenge too great for us to overcome,” Maganga said.

However, she urged refugees and asylum seekers to respect the laws of Malawi. She said saying they have a responsibility of upholding the laws of the country.

She said as the country observes the day, it is imperative to recognize the immense challenges faced by refugees across the world and also their zeal in demonstrating extraordinary resilience, courage, strength and determination for a better tomorrow.

She further said government and partners should rekindle the hope in refugees by ensuring an inclusive and equitable world for them to rebuild their lives, thereby empowering them to thrive.

“This requires us to invest in education, healthcare, livelihood opportunities and psychosocial support for refugees and host communities alike,” she said.

Government has identified a new refugee camp site in Chitipa. At this site where it will ensure that there are improved services, facilities and land for agriculture.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Law Society has started review of the 1989 Refugees Act in order to create a favorable legal environment for refugees.

In his remarks, Commissioner for Refugees, General Ignacio Maulana said there is work to be done to see an improved management of refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

“The work is huge and we need assistance from the whole society so that together we build solutions that are sustainable and in the interests of all the persons of concern and the nation at large,” he said.

He then called for peace at the camp and for partners to understand the needs of refugees in order to provide the right support.

In his remarks, Dzaleka Refugee Camp Manager, Elton Phulusa, commended partners for their help towards the camp, which he said, is faced with a congestion problem.

“The camp currently, hosts over 54,000, way beyond the initial 12,000 recommendation, which has brought challenges in terms of provision of shelter, security, education, food and health services. So, the establishment of a new camp in Chitipa will help ease some of the challenges here,” said Phulusa.

Abdikarim Taashir Ismael, who spoke on behalf of the refugee community applauded stakeholders in ensuring dignity for asylum seekers.

He bemoaned that some articles in the country create restrictions for refugees to access some fundamental rights and opportunities, hence hindering the development and quest for their self-sufficient lives.

“By lifting these restrictions, we can empower refugees to work, move freely and integrate into society. It would allow refugees to support themselves and their families, reducing the financial burden on partners.

“Furthermore, fostering an environment where refugees can thrive and contribute benefits not only the refugees but also the broader community,” he said.

Group Village Head Chimtengo of Traditional Authority Mkukula asked for a vehicle for police officers saying it becomes a challenge to respond to emergencies during the night.

Instituted in 2001, the day is annually cerebrated on June 20 to honor the plight and bravery of refugees.

This year Malawi observed the day on July 4 due to the recent 21 days mourning period the country was in following the death of the immediate past Vice President, Dr Saulos Chilima.