CDEDI pens Parliament over refugees’ reintegration

Concerned Malawians led by the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) have petitioned Parliament asking the lawmakers to review the country’s laws following government’s decision to reintegrate refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

According to CDEDI’s Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, there is selective application of justice on the reintegration process as they are many undocumented foreigners like Chinese and Indian nationals who are scot free.

“The recent government directive seems to have been craftly narrowed down only to our brothers and sisters from Rwanda and Burundi, fondly called Maburundi, when the rest, like those from Nigeria, Somalia, India, Pakistan, Lebanon and China are deemed off the hook.

Some of those affected by the directive have stayed in Malawi, and outside the refugee camp, for over 25 years, thereby raising the questions as to what the law enforcers have been doing all this time?” questioned the CDEDI executive director in the petition.

Namiwa expressed fears that the economy is at virtue of collapsing if government proceeds with the decision arguing that the country’s economy is largely controlled by foreign trade players.

“A better chunk of Malawi’s economy is controlled by foreign based business operators, most of whom have no legal permits for such business activities, precisely the refugees and asylum seekers.

“CDEDI is calling for a review process of Malawi’s laws to ensure that some of these refugees and asylum seekers are integrated into the society, as they have proven to be critical to the social and economic development of our nation, despite their status,” said Namiwa.

Speaking after receiving the petition on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs Yusuf Nthenda said he will deliver the petition to the Speaker.

“Yes, I have received this petition from CDEDI and as a procedure, I have received this petition not on my own behalf, but on behalf of Parliament.

“I am going to take it to the Speaker who is the head of the institution so that all the procedures that are needed for a petition to get its way into the chamber should be followed until the petition should be deliberated upon in Parliament,” said Nthenda.

However, government spokesperson Gospel Kazako waÁs quoted in the local media saying authorities will only follow what the law says when it comes to designated residing places for refugees and asylum seekers on the matter.

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