The Year Refugees were robbed, not welcome

2023 Malawi’s human rights record and its warm heart of Africa tag, when it decided  to expel refugees and asylum seekers from its cities to dump them at overcrowded Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

While Rwanda was opening its borders to all Africans, Malawi was closing in expelling some and encouraging repatriation of refugees.

Malawi Police iced the cake of Malawi Governments chaos when its CID officers were caught on CCTV and accused of stealing K250 million  with the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) youth cadres.

An international advocacy group as part of the Malawi government chaos expelled the refugee rights group – INUA Advocacy from the Dzaleka refugee camp.

Helpless in Malawi

According to a minority report, said the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi is one of Africa’s largest. For the last three decades, it has been a haven for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing from political instability and violence in their home countries. 

The Malawian government’s partnership with INUA Advocacy granted the group access to the camp to scrutinize the human rights situation. However, the recent termination of this partnership raises eyebrows at the already deteriorating situation in the refugee camp.

In March 2023, the Malawian government gave a directive to enforce its encampment policy, which ordered all refugees in cities, villages, or towns outside the camp to return. In May, the police began rounding up thousands of refugees across Malawi, temporarily detaining and forcefully relocating them back to the Dzaleka camp.

As expected, not long after, the forceful relocations birthed numerous challenges in the camp, such as out-of-school children due to overcrowded schools and the shortage of food, shelter, water, health services, and sanitation facilities.

The Dzaleka refugee camp was initially meant to host 12,000 people but currently accommodates around 50,000. And despite President Lazarus Chakwera’s promise in June to improve the living conditions of the refugees in the camp, there has been no significant progress.

The conditions at Dzaleka refugee camp is worsening in Malawi

Many suspect that the reason behind the newfound hostility of the Malawian government towards its refugees is driven by populist motives, possibly in preparation for President Chakwera’s 2025 reelection campaign.

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