UNHCR urges Malawi to remove 522 foreign nationals from Dzaleka Refugee Camp

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has asked the government of Malawi to remove 522 foreign nationals whose application for asylum and appeals were rejected from Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa. According to UNHCR, these individuals are not bona fide refugees and asylum seekers and their presence is creating confusion and using up space meant for legitimate refugees. Furthermore, there are security concerns as the authorities do not know how these individuals are surviving in the camp. In response to this request, the Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, said that the government is working on clearing the rejected refugees.

Concerns over resources and security

UNHCR is facing underfunding, which makes it difficult to adequately support refugees and asylum-seekers in Malawi. The agency had only received six percent of the required $27.2 million by March 28, 2023. The commissioner for refugees in Malawi, General Ignacio Maulana (retired), has met with Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services director general Brigadier General Charles Kalumo (retired) on the matter. Maulana acknowledged the issue of resources and security, saying that they do not know how these individuals are surviving in the camp.

The rejected refugees were coming from the camp for their interview and some even appealed from the camp. Maulana added that the immigration department has the list of rejected refugees and will take further action to deport them or take any other necessary action. Dzaleka Refugee Camp was originally established to accommodate up to 12,000 refugees, but it now accommodates 56,425 refugees, with 8,000 refugees expected to return to the camp from rural and urban locations.

This article was first published by BNN

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