GOVERNMENT will continue providing the necessary protection to both refugees and foreigners living in Zambia, Principal Refuge Officer Vincent Chibuye has said.
Speaking during the commemoration of World Refuge Day in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Chibuye said Government strongly condemned the recent attacks on refugees in some of the densely populated communities of Lusaka, stating that Zambia had become a rainbow nation which respected diversity.
He reassured the refugees that Government would provide the necessary protection that they deserved and be allowed to conduct their daily business just like Zambians do. Mr Chibuye appealed to all former Rwandan refugees domiciled in Zambia who did not want to apply for local integration to set aside their misgivings so that they followed the process and be productive members of the Zambian society and assured them that Zambia was committed to upholding her international obligation of providing international protection to refugees. And United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Laura Lo Castro also condemned the recent attacks on foreigners and commended Government for the urgent measures put in place to foster unity and co-existence. Ms Castro expressed happiness at Government’s support for solutions to the refugee situation by allocating vast pieces of land to refugees, facilitating their return home and offering local integration.
She assured Government that UNHCR would continue mobilising resources to support it in the implementation of the local integration programme to benefit both former refugees and the Zambian host community.
Ms Lo Castro observed that the world had recorded unprecedented numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and others of concern now standing at over 60 million.
Meanwhile, chairman general of the refugee community in Zambia Emile Hatungimana appealed to Government and stakeholders to come to the aid of the victims of the recent looting as some of them lost everything and were now living as destitutes.