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Zim hosting 20 000 refugees: Govt

Some 15 000 refugees, according to Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister Kazembe Kazembe, are at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, Manicaland province.

ZIMBABWE is hosting an estimated 20 000 refugees and asylum seekers most whom are facing challenges in obtaining identity documents for children born in the country, a senior government official has said.

Some 15 000 refugees, according to Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister Kazembe Kazembe, are at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, Manicaland province.

He said Tongogara was facing a host of challenges, including inadequate resources to support the refugee population, access to basic needs such as food, water, sanitation, health, basic education facilities and transport for patients to hospital.

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe National Migration Policy in Harare yesterday, Kazembe pledged government’s commitment to ensuring effective policy implementation so that the policy framework does not fail.

He also called for a review of the country’s legislation, including the Zimbabwe Immigration Act, to reflect and align it with national priorities and modern-day migration realities.

Kazembe also said President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a directive to regularise the status of all persons in Zimbabwe by providing them with identity documents.

“More than 10 000 migrants from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique were registered and issued with certificates, identity cards and permanent residence free of charge as recognition of the strong and historical ties of people within the Sadc [Southern African Development Community] region,” he said.

Kazembe called for measures that ensure Zimbabwe is not a source, transit and destination country for smuggled or trafficked migrants.

“The scourges of terrorism, human trafficking, human smuggling and money laundering are increasingly placing a demand on governments to widely co-operate in order to counter Trans National Organised Crimes,” he said.

“Conflicts around the world continue to exacerbate the asylum and refugee crisis creating challenges for various States to facilitate passage or serve as hosts to refugees.

“It is against this background that migration issues can no longer be relegated to policy peripheries but must constitute core socio-economic and political considerations,” Kazembe added.

In a statement ahead of the launch yesterday, IOM Zimbabwe chief of mission Mario Lito Malanca highlighted the importance of continued co-operation among partners, while reiterating the importance of effective policy implementation.

“The government of Zimbabwe had demonstrated its sincere commitment to managing migration in an effective way through the adoption of this policy.

“The policy is a living document and a dynamic tool which if implemented well — as government has committed to do — will advance the socio-economic well-being of migrants and society,” he said.

IOM assisted with technical support in the development of the policy which seeks to address migration challenges, while tapping into the positive benefits of migration for Zimbabwe’s social and economic development.

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