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Govt Appeal For Refugee Assistance


Government has appealed to local and international stakeholders for assistance to help refugees in the country saying the Mozambican crisis has put a strain on the country’s already stretched resources.

By Moregiven Sithole, Shorai Murwira and Faith Zvorufura

In a speech read his behalf by Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, Clifford Sibanda, at the Zimbabwe Inter-Agency Appeal in Harare on Wednesday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa pleaded with individuals and companies to donate towards Tongogara Refugee camp.

“Our emergency response to the Mozambican crisis has put a strain on our stretched resources. It is against this background that I call upon you all to donate in cash or in kind to make refugee camp habitable place with full capacity to contain a mass population increase in refugee and asylum seekers.

“There is need to improve infrastructure, sanitation, and shelter and facilitate income generating for all those in the camp,” said Mnangagwa.

Speaking at the same event, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Country representative, Robert Tibagwa said his organisation’s collaborative work with the Zimbabwe is aiming to raise more than ten million dollars which will be used to cater for the needs of refugees who are fleeing from the Mozambican crisis.

 Tibagwa hailed the government for accommodating refugees from the continent and beyond.

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“Yesterday, on 20th of June, was World Refugee Day. We honoured the resilience and courage of more than 65 million people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence.”

“But it is also the moment to recognize those communities and people around the world who receive refugees and the internally displaced in their midst, offering them a safe haven, and welcoming them in their schools their work places and their societies,” said Tibagwa.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Priscilla Mupfumira said Zimbabwe is committed to uphold its International obligations under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1957 protocol.

“As a state party to the United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Zimbabwe is currently responding to address the refugee situation from Mozambique, “said Mupfumira.

Zimbabwe hosts more then seventeen thousand (17000) refugees from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, DRC and Rwanda.

Zimbabwe has over the years been a destination for asylum seekers fleeing wars and civil unrest from the horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region. Currently, Zimbabwe is hosting a total of 10 860 registered refugees and asylum seekers with 74 percent being Congolese nationals, 9 percent Mozambicans, 7 percent Rwandese another 7 Burundians and 3 percent Ethiopians.

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According to Vice President Mnangagwa an additional 6, 502 Mozambican asylum seekers are living in Nyanga and Chipinge districts and are yet to be relocated to Tongogara Refugee camp.

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