Hichilema urged to speed up implementation of refugees policy


Zambian Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU) has expressed concern over government’s inertia in providing a comprehensive policy direction on refugees and their rights.

ZCLU Deputy Executive Director, Maurice Makalu, said the Refugees Act, 2017 enacted by former president Edgar Lungu’s administration was a foundation which the current government must build upon.

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Makalu said this in a statement issued to Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Monday.

He said lack of political will by the previous administration to implement the Act’s provisions underscored the pressing need for the new administration to distinguish itself and expedite its efforts.

“As ZCLU, we have deep apprehensions regarding lack of progress on a refugee policy in Zambia, jeopardizing pledges made under the Global Compact for Refugees,” Makalu said.

He said the absence of substantial initiatives over the past four years to implement tangible lasting solutions for refugees, despite international community resources allocated for local integration, was disconcerting.

Makalu said this situation undermined Zambia’s standing as a responsible global actor.

“President Hakainde Hichilema holds the key to rectify this situation. The coming few years of his term provide an opportunity for him to revamp Zambia’s human rights record,” he said.

Makalu said it was imperative for the President to reaffirm his commitment to safeguarding rights, including those of refugees and former refugees affected by the cessation clause of 2013.

“ZCLU implores him to accelerate the formulation of a comprehensive refugee policy and take decisive steps towards its effective implementation,” he said.

Makalu added that by doing so, Zambia can both fulfill its global commitments and secure a just and compassionate society for all.

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