The Malawi government has come out firing this time, aiming at United States of America Ambassador David Young for his comments on the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers who were relocated to the Dzaleka Refugees Camp in Dowa District. Normally, the Us Ambassador would with justification criticize the Malawi government’s seemingly ineffective approach to combating corruption to the government’s silence, but not this time.
Young, the ambassador, opposes the current exercise where government is reallocating refugees to Dzaleka Refugees Camp Young questions whether Malawi would be happy if thousands of its citizens who made the journey to South Africa were made to return home.
Young said: “The Rwandans, Burundis, and others came here with a lot of pain in their lives.
“They [the refugees] came with the same pain as someone traveling from Mzimba or Mangochi to Cape Town or Johannesburg for greener pastures. Do you want South Africa to push those people out and send them back home?”
Oliver Kumbambe, the principal secretary of the Ministry of Homeland Security, said in a statement on Saturday night that the operation to relocate refugees and asylum seekers living outside the designated camp is justified because there have been worries that some migrants were involved in illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, cross-border crimes, and transnational crimes.
He claimed that the Malawian government remained dedicated to protecting refugees and those seeking asylum, but only in designated locations.
Said Kumbambe: “It is in this respect that Dzaleka Refugees Camp was established for the purposes of protecting the refugees and asylum seekers. All refugees and asylum seekers are, therefore, required to reside in the designated camp.
“It must be mentioned that in establishing the Dzaleka Refugees Camp with assistance from UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], the government made appropriate provisions for a safe stay of all refugees and asylum seekers.”
He said through the operation, Malawi was also assessing the status of the refugees and asylum seekers as no country in the world, including the US, receives and accepts people without an assessment.
Kumbambe said: “The public may further wish to note that increased numbers of asylum seekers are trekking into Malawi just to engage in undocumented and unauthorized businesses. Further, some are using Malawi as a route to resettle in third countries such as the United States.
Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service says it will start using force to relocate refugees who have returned to the country’s cities a few days after they were relocated to Dzaleka.