A Governance and Human Rights organization, Millennium Information and Resource Centre [MIRECE], has expressed a concern over a court injunction obtained by the refugees restraining the Government of Malawi from relocating them to Dzaleka Camp, Dowa district.
MIRECE says policies and rights which are formulated by the Government of Malawi are being enjoyed by strangers including the refugees while ordinary citizens are oppressed saying it is sad that these strangers are being treated as first class citizens while the ordinary citizens, second-class.
The organization says it is sad also that human rights bodies have taken a strong stand against the Government decision to relocate the refugees to Dzaleka Camp, Dowa while none of the organizations have stood side by side with the people of Dowa whose rights are being oppressed by the refugees and asylum seekers and are suffering in their country.
In a statement released by its Director, Reverend Flywell Somanje, MIRECE says it is worried that the UNHCR which came to negotiate with the government of Malawi seeking land for the refugees and asylum seekers, is silent on the matter of relocation while refugees have taken the Malawi Government to court.
MIRECE says it is siding with Government of Malawi to have the decision of relocating the refugees at Dzaleka Camp for security reasons saying some of refugees are not just ordinary people, some have been experienced soldiers in their countries, adding they know each and every corner of the country.
It says following the announcement that the refugees have obtained a court injunction, the whole Dzaleka camp went into jubilations that victory is on their side while the ordinary people were quiet, many ordinary citizens in Dowa thought they will now get back their land which the refugees got by false means in the district, all have their faces fallen in a dark cloud.
…”Today, the owners of the land are hands tied with the injunction, they don’t know what will happen, if Government loses the case or the refugees loses, are they going to surrender or remain in Malawi and continue their control of enjoying business over the ordinary citizens…,’’ reads part of the statement.
MIRECE claims that Ella Katalika was trafficked and disappeared 10 to 15 years ago, this was reported to the Government of Malawi, UNHCR, Human Rights bodies in Malawi and till this day she is nowhere to be seen. No human right or women organization has joined in the search for the missing girl from Dowa, all are silent to this day.
The organization also claims that another Dowa girl, Tikhale, was forced into marriage with a refugee who had 3 children with her. Her land was allegedly then grabbed by that refugee; the matter was reported to all NGOs, UNHRC and no NGO has spoken in support of Tikhale to this day because she is poor, wondering why the rights of refugees are being defended than those of the ordinary citizens.
MIRECE is appealing to Government to learn lessons from the mistake of failing to act before many refugees grew wings and became rich while the owners of the land are poor and have no money, relocating them to Dzaleka Camp would have been easy in those days but today money will speak for them in a justice delayed, justice denied.
The organization is urging all Malawians to be law abiding citizens to wait and see what the Malawi courts will do, to trust their government and security saying it is still waiting for a response from the UNHCR that Dzaleka Camp which was designed to host 10,000 refugees, yet hosts over 50,000 people and dismissing claims made by the UNHCR that people staying outside the Camp are 2000 as they are more than that figure.
By Vincent Gunde