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Government not changing mind on relocation of refugees, asylum seekers

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Government has refused to bow down to pressure from United Nations (UN) agency and other stakeholders to reverse the exercise of relocating refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp currently underway in the city of Lilongwe.

Minister of Homeland Security, Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma, said in Lilongwe on Friday after meeting representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM ), National Registration Bureau (NRB), Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services and Small Scale Business Operators Association to find a better solution on the exercise.

“As government, we are are doing a head count to know how many foreigners we have in the country and their reasons, of being found in the country,” he said.

Ng’oma noted that some who are genuine refugees have gone back to the camp while others who are crime suspects and economic Refugees to trade in small scale businesses are taken to Maula Prison waiting to answer charges of illegal entry and then they will be deported.

Zikhale briefing members of press

According to him, there are 53,000 foreigners doing various small scale businesses which does not benefit the country.

He further said following their lengthy discussion which took almost seven hours, the UN did not come up with a solutions to the decision only pleading with government to reconsider the refugees to go back to their homes in town.

But, he said, Malawians are not happy to see foreigners playing the roles that are being covered by the local communities.

“Malawi’s administration is based on rule of law, if followed then there are no issues with the government but when you break then issues arises,” he said.

Ng’oma said foreigners want to make the country a lawless state which doesn’t follow its own laws as they stay and do their business without documentations.

He therefore thanked the small scale businesses operators association for their calmness and support as the enforcement of the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers still continues in the districts but was however expressed disappointment to Malawians who are still harbouring illegal immigrants and shield them from law enforcers.

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