Refugees staying put, for now
Government’s decision to relocate refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp will wait a little longer as Judge Mandala Mambulasa is yet to hear an application on the matter on June 9.
On Tuesday, the High Court sitting in Lilongwe dismissed an application asking the court to stop the government from relocating refugees and asylum seekers to the refugee camp, saying the applicant, Elie Mukunzi, was not a refugee in Malawi and therefore did not have sufficient interest in the matter.
It has transpired, however, that a parallel matter involving Abdul Nahmana, on his own behalf and on the behalf of all the refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi, is ongoing and an injunction ordered in this regard still stands.
The applicants’ lawyer Luciano Mickman said the fact that the matter in Lilongwe was dismissed did not mean that the government could relocate the refugees, at least until the conclusion of the matter in Blantyre.
“The applicant in Lilongwe was just all by himself while Mr. Nahnama’s application has himself and the refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi,” he said.
In response to the Tuesday court determination, Minister of Homeland Security indicated that the government would move to relocate the refugees.
“The Minister was misled with the ruling. The ones who made the application here in Blantyre are the real refugees and their case has not been disposed yet,” Mickman said.
The government’s announcement that it was sending all refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp was received with mixed reactions both locally and internationally.