CCJP calls for needs address gaps in Dzaleka camp

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), has called for more human rights organizations to help mediate various conflicts and raise awareness among the refugee community in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

The CCJP has called for more livelihood, education and healthcare projects and need for honest discussions on the review of the refugee act to protect both the refugees and Malawians on issues of naturalization.

The organization has also called for the need to lobby for an increase in police officers and more advocacy of the refugee status determination and appeal process and period and the review of the Immigration act on issues like seeking medical care from outside Malawi and travel permits.

Presenting a 5-months Umodzi project Report to the Governance committee under Dowa Civil Society Organizations Network held at Mponela in the district CCJPs Head of Programs Mwai Sandram, said the project provided a platform for dialogue to enhance social-cohesion and peace building in the Dzaleka Camp.

Sandram said the project has increased public and stakeholder awareness about the human rights issues and challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers as well as conducting evidence-based advocacy on policy and legal reform.

He said among the activities done by the project include a workshop on effective communication, negotiations and engagement with traditional leaders and religious leaders from the refugee community and the host community.

The Head of Program said the project conducted an awareness raising campaign in T/A Mkukula where 100 community members were engaged and informed on the refugee act and the rights and responsibilities.

He said the project conducted a radio panel discussion on YETU Community radio station in collaboration with the refugee services Department saying this has further enhanced the co-existence and harmony between the refugees and host communities.

“The project engaged MPs and councilors of Dowa District Council on issues of refugee rights, the review of the refugee act and development of Dzaleka Refugee Camp,” said Sandram.

He said the project met some challenges such as refugee issues are highly political, the bureaucracy involved when dealing with the Department for Refugees, language barrier -a translator needs to be identified, the cultural diversity at the Camp and inter-community conflicts.

Sandram said UNHCR and Government have cut the budget by over 50 percent hence there are food, shelter, healthcare, education challenges at the Camp bringing a governance project sounding like an insult to the refugees and asylum seekers

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