Malawi orders refugees to return to camp

Dzaleka refugee camp

Malawi Government has ordered all refugees conducting business outside Dzaleka Refugee camp to return to the refugee camp.

The Ministry of Homeland Security said in a statement dated April 11 that it issued a letter on April 1 telling all refugees and asylum seekers who are conducting business in communities outside Dzaleka to return to the camp within 14 days of notice.

According to the statement signed by Secretary for Homeland Security Patricia Liabuba, Malawi police, Immigration Department and Department for Refugees are currently sensitizing refugees on the matter.

The ministry has since urged Malawians to let the refugees return to the camp peacefully, saying no person should steal money or property from the refugees.

“Government will not tolerate any act of violence against our brothers and sisters who have already shown interest to return to the camp within the stipulated period of 14 days from the date of their notification,” said Liabuba.

A UNHCR fact sheets released earlier this year show that 48, 547 refugees and asylum seekers reside in Malawi’s Dzaleka Refugee Camp as of 31 January 2021.

There were 187 new arrivals and 120 new-born babies were registered in the camp in January.

Many refugees, especially Burundians, leave the camps and conduct businesses in townships and trading centres.