HomeNational NewsNationalCourt stops government from refugee’s containers, relocation

Court stops government from refugee’s containers, relocation

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The High Court of Malawi has granted an order for an interlocutory injunction restraining Minister of Homeland Security and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services from seizing nine containers belonging to a refugee, Sylvestre Bizimana.

The injuction further restrains disrupting his business and forcing him and his family to move to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa until after the determination of the judicial review or until a further order is made by the court.

The claimant, filed an application on May 18, 2023 before Justice Howard Pemba for permission to commence judicial review of the Minister of Homeland Security and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services (defendants) decision to force him and his family to move to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

The claimant also applied for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from, among others, forcing him and his family to move to Dzaleka Refugee Camp until the final determination of the judicial review.

This is not the first time that refugees and asylum seekers have obtained a court injunction stopping government from relocating them to Dzaleka Refugee Camp since issues of their relocations started 13 years ago.

In a judicial review case number 20 of 2023, Justice Howard Pemba granted permission to Sylvestre Bizimana to apply for judicial review while the application for an interlocutory injunction was ordered to come for an inter partes hearing on May 25, 2023.

Bizimana’s containers at Mgona Market in Lilongwe

Surprisingly, both the Minister of Homeland Security and Director General of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively did not show up and no good reason was proffered to the court by the defendants for their failure to attend the hearing.

“In view of these circumstances, the court allowed the claimant, Bizimana, to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the defendants,” reads part of the order.

Bizimana in his application for judicial review claims to be a Malawian after following all due processes. He attached a number of documentary evidence such as his national identity card, a certificate of naturalisation as a citizen of Malawi, tax clearance certificate from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and a certificate of registration for his business premises license from Lilongwe City Council (LCC) to prove that he is a Malawian.

The defendants are regarding Bizimana as one of the illegal immigrants hence enforcing a policy that he is not authorised to conduct his businesses at Mgona Market in Lilongwe where he has his nine containers containing agricultural produce. 

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