By Staff Reporter
UNCHR Assistant High Commissioner, Gillian Triggs says more still needs to be done to improve the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe.
Triggs, who is UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Refugee Protection, visited Tongogara Refugee Camp in Manicaland witnessed first-hand information on some of their challenges.
She had the opportunity to talk to a group of the refugees, predominantly leaders in their community, and learn about their needs and situations.
Most of the refugees at the camp are people who fled conflicts in DRC, Mozambique, Rwanda and Burundi.
In most cases they suffer from hunger, lack of access to clean water, health facilities, clothing and their children have no access to education.
“More needs to be done to improve the lives of refugees and asylum-seekers. For that, the international community’s support is critical,” Triggs said.
She called out for more resources to support refugees living in the country and the communities hosting them.
“We had very open and constructive discussions with the Government on all issues relating to the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. I’m encouraged that the Government will reinforce their commitment to improving refugee protection in accordance with international law,” said Triggs.
Zimbabwe is home to more than 22,000 refugees and asylum-seekers where 15 000 of these live in the Tongogara refugee camp in Manicaland province and a small population live in urban areas.
“Zimbabwe submitted 14 pledges during the Global Refugee Forum in 2019 and the High-Level Panel on Statelessness. There were seven to improve the situation of refugees in the country and seven on statelessness. I thank the Government for this bold decision in support of refugees and to address statelessness issues, I encourage them to fulfil all the commitments,” said Triggs.
“Access to livelihoods opportunities, skills development, education, health, safety and security including peaceful co-existence with the host community are contributing to a favourable protection environment,” she said.
Triggs commended the government for including refugees and asylum-seekers in the national Covid-19 response and related national vaccination plans.