January 27, 2021

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810 Undocumented Refugees; A Security Risk For Zimbabwe

By Stephen Ephraem

ZIMBABWE is still housing 810 undocumented individuals who were denied refugee and or asylum seeker status, it has been revealed.

This came out during a visit by the Parliamentary Portifolio Committees on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and that on Foreign affairs and International Trade at Tongogara Refugee Camp on November 24 2020 for a fact finding mission.

Addressing delegates, the Tongogara Refugee Camp administrator, Johanne Mhlanga, pleaded for government intervention to help deport all those who had been refused asylum and refugee.

“Honourable Members, there are 810 individuals (391 females; 419 males) who could not be documented for various reasons. Some applications were rejected on national security grounds while others had no refugee claims and or lacked credibility.

“These failed asylum seekers are expected to leave the country in terms of Section 8 of the Refugee Act. However, they seem to lack appetite to leave this country, and according to the law, these failed asylum seekers will become an Immigration case.

“It is my sincerest appeal to the Committees here present, to advocate for resource allocation to the Immigration department to effect deportation of the failed asylum seekers,” said Mhlanga.

Umzingwane constituency Legislator, Retired Brigadier General Levi Maihlome , indicated the need to interrogate all undocumented refugees so that they can be sent back to their home country. 

“We should deport them in accordance with international laws practices, we cannot just deport them to nowhere. The undocumented people shall have children who will also fail to possess identity cards and be deprived of children’s rights. they pose a security risk to this country if such persons violate our laws, they cannot be traced” said Maihlome.

Tongogara Refugee Camp is home to 14 643 refugees and asylum seekers of whom 75.5 percent are from Democratic Republic of Congo, 11.07 percent Mozambique, 6.2 percent Burundi, 4.7 percent Rwanda and 2.53 percent smaller communities.