Refugee population reaches 100m mark

24 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Refugee population reaches 100m mark A group of refugees performs the traditional dance during World Refugees Day commemorations held at Tongogara Refugees Camp in Chipinge on Monday

The ManicaPost


Ray Bande
Senior Reporter

THE number of people forced to flee conflict, war, persecution or human rights abuses crossed the 100 million mark for the first time at a time when Zimbabwe has upped its refugee reception systems, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

Speaking during the World Refugees Day commemorations held at Tongogara Refugees Camp in Chipinge on Monday, UNHCR’s Country Representative, Mr Abdoulaye Barry said renewed conflicts in Ukraine as well as protracted crises in countries such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have immensely contributed to the upsurge in asylum seekers.

“Recently, we marked a milestone, the number of people forced to flee conflict, war, persecution and human rights abuses crossed the 100 million mark for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts,” he said.

This year’s World Refugees Day was being commemorated under the theme ‘Whoever, Wherever, Whenever, everyone has the right to safety’.

Mr Barry commended Zimbabwe for a sterling job in giving hope, security and peace to refugees from various parts of the continent.

“We have so many success stories in Zimbabwe, thanks to our work with the Government, the donors’ support and our partners, namely World Food Programme, Terre Des Hommes, World Vision, UN agencies and many other operational partners.

“Thanks to the Government of Zimbabwe, 100 percent of the refugees here have access to primary health care,” he said.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima pledged to fund the construction of a Science laboratory at a local school to benefit refugees and locals.

“When we came here, we heard so many complaints from the school and the surrounding community. We have taken note of that. I can assure you that we will soon be moving in to construct a Science laboratory at the local school so that the learners here, both refugees and locals, are not left behind.

“We have also heard encouraging words of appreciation for the work Government is doing here and we are glad that the people around are noticing our efforts,” said Prof Mavima.
The Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister also called upon refugees to abide by the country’s laws.

“Zimbabwe is a peaceful and democratic country that has laws and regulations governing its citizenry. This also applies to refugees who come here to seek asylum. Our laws are sacred and should be adhered to by anyone who wishes to live here. We will not tolerate any acts of misconduct and criminality from asylum seekers much as we do not tolerate the same from our own citizenry,” said Minister Mavima.

Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Nokuthula Matsikenyere pledged Government’s continued support towards the welfare of refugees at Tongogara Refugees Camp.

“We are happy that refugees here have embarked on various self-sustaining projects that ease the burden on Government and development partners.

“However, as Government, we will continue giving services and material assistance to ensure that refugees have a decent life. We remain committed to giving refugees peace, security and a decent life,” said Minister Matsikenyere.

A representative of the refugees, Mr Kubumba Sierra Negro commended Government for affording them a decent and peaceful life, but implored authorities to improve the amenities in Section Seven of the camp.

Various entertainment groups of refugees resident at Tongogara Refugees Camp kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout the event.


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