Malawi has engaged Mozambique in talks over the neighbouring nation’s escalating public disorder that has resulted in burning of Malawian trucks as well as fleeing of thousands of the neighbours into the country.
The two governments plus the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held a tripartite dialogue in the Mozambican capital Maputo last Tuesday to strategise on the repatriation of the Mozambican refugees.
Principal Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security Beston Chisamile led the Malawian delegation while Ambassador Antonio Inacio Junior was Mozambique’s leader of delegation.
Chisamile said in an interview the discussion centred on the repatriation of the Mozambicans who have fled into Malawi.
“This was the first consultative meeting and its outcome will be a tripartite agreement that will be signed between the governments of Mozambique and Malawi together with the UNHCR.
“Basically, we want to make sure that there is a mechanism to facilitate voluntary returning back of these refugees to their home country,” explained Chisamile.
Over the past two months, the country has witnessed a decline in numbers of the Mozambican refugees from around 12 000 to 8 500 who have embarked on a self-repatriation.
However, Chisamile was noncommittal on when the tripartite treaty would be signed to facilitate the repatriation exercise.
Malawi High Commissioner to Mozambique Frank Viyazghi, who was also part of the meeting, said the Maputo meeting was as a result of the tripartite summit by Presidents of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia held on March 23 2016 in Lilongwe.
“The pleasing issue is that Mozambique is willing to facilitate a dignified repatriation and has put in place a conducive repatriation programme of its people and the agreement was that the people will be repatriated following the UNHCR guidelines,” said the Malawian envoy.
Currently, Malawi is hosting more than 30 000 refugees from Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia and other East African nations at Dzaleka in Dowa, Thambani and Kapise in Mwanza, Luwani in Neno, Chikwawa and Nsanje.
Speaking yesterday during the World Refugees Day commemoration at Luwani Camp, Chisamile who is also commissioner for refugees in Malawi, condemned the civil wars describing them as undesirable.
“It is Malawi’s desire that these wars should cease forthwith. Malawi is associating itself with the international community that those who have found themselves torn apart by war should receive the necessary assistance,” he said.
On her part UNHCR senior emergency coordinator Fadela Novak-Irons said the rights of refugees are particularly fragile because they have been trampled and there is need for their restoration and full enjoyment.
The event was commemorated under the theme Together for Peace, Tolerance and Prosperity.