CDEDI says relocation of refugees is ‘state sponsored xenophobia’

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The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded government to suspend its plan of relocating refugees and asylum seekers, saying the exercise is just but one state sponsored xenophobia.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said in a press statement that Homeland Security Minister Jean Sendeza and Deputy Inspector General of Police responsible for operations Casper Chalera should desist from using sentiments that may culminate into state sponsored xenophobic attacks on refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi.

The statement follows an internal memo by Chalera containing instructions to police officers to start spotting or identifying refugees and asylum seekers living outside Dzaleka camp ahead of the November 30, 2022 and February 1, 2023 deadlines for refugees and asylum seekers to relocate to the camp from rural and urban centres respectively.

According to Namiwa, his organisation and well meaning Malawians find such an order by authorities highly insensitive and ill-timed owing to the conduct of the bad apples that seem to have hijacked the police service.

“This is a blank cheque to these bad apples to start looting and plundering innocent foreign nationals’ property in the name of carrying out such an order on one hand, while some criminal elements outside the service may also take advantage of the same to victimize innocent people,” he said.

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