22 June 2018

Malawi to Adopt Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework

Malawi government will adopt the Comprehensive Refugees Response Framework (CRRF) as one way of improving refugee welfare and enabling refugees to contribute to the development of the host country, a senior government official has said.

Deputy Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Dr. Hudson Mankhwala said this on Wednesday at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa during celebrations to mark this year's World Refugee Day.

He said the CRRF, which has already been approved by the country's president, will help in serving the needs of both refugees and the host country.

"Government is looking at ways of ensuring that refugees have access to education, shelter and a livelihood. This framework will focus on skills and livelihood profiling, engagement in economic activities to make sure that refuges no longer live on handouts," Mankhwala said.

CRRF is also expected to enhance refugees' enjoyment of equal rights with citizens and in return, citizens will benefit from the provisions that refugees get.

Mankhwala cited a case of Dr. Mirrellle Twayigira, who was once a refugee and now serves as medical doctor in the country, as an example of how the country can benefit from the potential within refugee camps.

Plans are underway by government to address challenges raised by the refuges at Dzaleka Camp such as congestion, as well as poor and inadequate nutrition.

The camp was initially built to accommodate between 10,000 and 12, 000 people. But currently, it is home to over 30, 000 people.

One of the intervention is relocation of the camp from Dowa to Katupsa in Karonga where there is enough land to allocate 400 new plots to the refugees, according to Mankhwala.

Country representative for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Monique Ekoko said refugees in Malawi have skills and talents that the country can harness to advance its development agenda.

She also commended the Malawi Government and local host communities for their contribution towards refugee welfare, which has enabled refugees to coexist in Malawi peacefully.

Malawi signed to the CRRF in 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly. The framework aims at establishing robust commitments from states that apply equally to refugees, migrants and the host communities.

The British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tate, South African High Commissioner to Malawi, Thenjiwe Mtintso and the German Ambassador to Malawi, Jurgen Borsch were some of the high profile figures who attended the celebrations.

Music and dance performances by refugees spiced up this year's day held under the theme "We Stand Together with Refugees".

World Refugee Day is commemorated on 20th of June every year.

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