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UNHCR Southern Africa delegation in Malawi to discuss relocation of refugees, asylum seekers

The delegation will meet President Lazarus Macarthy Chakwera on Wednesday and has already met Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng'oma and government agencies.

A high level delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Southern Africa has arrived in the country on a mission to discuss with the Government of Malawi on the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers.

The delegation will meet President Lazarus Macarthy Chakwera on Wednesday and has already met Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma and government agencies.

Regional Bureau Director for Southern Africa, Valentin Tapsoba told reporters on Monday in Lilongwe after meeting the Minister of Homeland Security, Ng’oma and government security agencies that they have come to a conclusion that they will work together for the relocation exercise of refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka camp.

” As you know the camp is overcrowded in terms of space and social services but the government has been kind enough to identify a large site that will accommodate more people,” he said.

Tapsoba said they will present the issue to their donor community to raise funds in order to start building the camp.

Tapsoba addressing journalists after the meeting

Government recently announced that it has identified a site in Chitipa where all refugees and asylum seekers will be accommodated and the Dzaleka camp will be closed.

Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma said they have explained to the delegation that they are following the rule of law.

“We have maintained our position to look after refugees according to the Geneva Convention and that Dzaleka remains the location of all refugees to reside,” he said.

On a new site of a refugee camp in Chitipa, Ng’oma clarified that they are moving out of the camp to a new site because Dzaleka is too close to town.

“We are failing to monitor these refugees because of the short distance, they travel to Dzaleka in the morning to register and back to town in the evening,” he said.

Ng’oma said the ministry has asked for help in terms of financial support to assist in the new construction of a new project in Chitipa in which they have agreed.

The new camp will help in reducing the congestion in Dzaleka which is housing over 50,000 people instead of the initial capacity of 12,000 refugees.

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