Many foreigners have migrated to Zambia in search of peace and security and it was every Zambians’ responsibility to welcome the people and help them restart their lives, says Ministry of Home Affairs permanent secretary Chileshe Mulenga.
He said Zambia would continue to welcome people in distress and give them a home where they would find opportunities and security
Dr Mulenga was speaking when he officiated at this year’s International Migrants Day in Lusaka last Friday.
He said Zambia would continue to be a beacon of hope for nationals from countries where there was darkness.
“As a country, we will continue to welcome people in distress and give them a home where they will once again find peace and explore different opportunities,’’Dr Mulenga said.
He explained that refugees should be treated with respect like any other person as they had the potential to help in the development of the country.
Dr Mulenga said people did not migrate for no reason but in search of security and it was for that reason that the that President Edgar Lungu had called on Zambians to continue respecting human rights of all people leaving in the country.
“I am a bearer of the message from President Lungu who has called on Zambians to continue to respect the human rights of all people leaving in the country,’’ he said.
Dr Mulenga said many people had opted to be migrants fleeing their countries because of lack of leadership based on principle.
And United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) country representative Laura Lo Castro said this year’s commemoration came at a sad time as the country just lost the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs r Jacob Mphepo who died last Thursday.
She said Mr Mphepo would be missed for his humanitarian work of assisting and protecting persons of concern.
“As UNHCR, we have lost a friend and a bright and consummate advocate of the cause of refugees and former refugees. Mr Mphepo will be fondly remembered as a doyen in our humanitarian work of assisting and protecting persons of concern, a champion of seeking durable solutions, particularly as one of the many architects of the local integration policy for former refugees living in Zambia,’’ Ms Castro explained.
She said almost a million people had crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year and that conflicts in Syria had continued to generate staggering levels of human suffering and was likely to exceed all previous records for global displacement.