A Democratic Republic of Congo-based Rwandan law firm Judicial Studies Office has written President Lazarus Chakwera, asking him to intervene and protect Rwandan refugees living in the country, a letter The Daily Times has seen indicates.
The letter, reference number 119 /JUCAP/GAR/2021 and dated June 4 2021, comes amid reports that the government plans to send all refugees, including Rwandese, residing outside the designated Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District back to the camp.
The letter asks Chakwera to protect Rwandan refugees as well as their assets and promote a durable solution until the situation in their country of origin, Rwanda, changes in order to allow their voluntary repatriation or they will be naturalised Malawians.
The firm’s lead lawyer Abubakar Ramazani Guy confirmed writing the letter.
He, however, said he was yet to get a response from the President.
“This letter belongs to me. It has already been sent to the presidency but I have not been answered yet.”
Among other things, Guy alleges that Rwanda is still not safe for survivors of the infamous Rwandan genocide.
“We would like to appeal to your good office, in our capacity as lawyers – advocates for Rwandan refugees survivors—to ask for the protection and stability of Rwandan refugees as well as their assets found on the soil of Malawi.
“Indeed, Your Excellency, the Rwandan refugees are survivors of numerous atrocities and crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated by the RPF/RPA since 1st October 1990 in Rwanda and former Zaire during 1996/97 period as documented by the 1994 UNHCR Gersony report, the 1998 Roberto Garreton report…,” the letter reads.
The letter notes that top government officials in Malawi, including Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda, have been calling on refugees to return to Dzaleka Camp, prompting the refugees to turn to the courts.
“Your Excellency, as the Supreme Magistrate of the nation, our confidence lies in the Judiciary of your country which will make the difference from others who currently are perceived to be politicised and corrupt…
“Your Excellency, this is the reason we would ask you to continue your legendary hospitality by protecting these Rwandan refugees survivors as well as their assets and to promote a durable solution until the situation in their country of origin, Rwanda, will experience fundamental and effective changes, especially in terms of human rights, to allow their voluntary repatriation with dignity or they will be naturalised Malawians,” the letter reads.
Minister of Information and government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said the government was aware of the letter.
“We will act on it. Any content of the letter that may suggest any derailment of our addiction to the compliance of the rule of law will be attended to with a polite reminder that Malawi is a nation of laws.
“This means if the letter is meant to push us into a direction that is different from what our laws tell us to go, we will create value distance from the letter,” he said.
Recently, the government announced that it wanted to relocate to Dzaleka Refugee Camp all refugees and asylum seekers residing outside the camp.
The country is hosting 49,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Somalia.