The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has hailed Malawi for adhering to international conventions on the protection of refugees.
UNHCR Field Officer in Malawi responsible for protection, Elsie Bertha Mills-Tettey in an interview with Mana Wednesday on the sidelines of a protection workshop for border authorities in Nsanje district said she is impressed with the way the country is treating refugees.
She said as per international conventions and standards, Malawi seems to be in the forefront in respecting people like refugees and asylum seekers who ought to be protected.
“Under such international conventions and standards, there are obligations which every country signed to fulfill, for instance; right to life, access to shelter, education just to mention but a few. Generally, as UNHCR we are very impressed with the way the country has been treating refugees. This is not the case with other countries,” Mills-Tettey explained.
The UNHCR Field Officer attributed the positive development to collaboration among the stakeholders including government and United Nations Agencies.
“You know Malawi government has a good working relationship with various stakeholders. Malawi government knows that it has a primary responsibility to protect every individual residing on its territory. This is very commendable,” Mills-Tettey said.
She was however quick to say there are some gaps which need to be addressed citing failure by local people to report to relevant authorities the presence of refugees and asylum seekers which affects their protection.
Meanwhile UNHCR has been holding protection workshops for border authorities in Nsanje district in an attempt to address such problems.
An official responsible for refugees in the ministry of Home Affair, Joseph Mkango said the country is doing well in refugees and asylum seekers since it has been following the international standards of dealing with them.
“What the UNHCR is saying is very true. As a country, we have been doing fine as regards dealing with the refugees and asylum seekers. We use our constitution but also the international standards when dealing with such issues. We are very happy that this UN institution is recognizing our efforts,” he said.
According to UNHCR, Malawi has over 2,800 individual refugees with 790 households.
Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA