The Zambian Civil Liberties Union (ZCLU) has demanded that a named Rwandese refugee should be freed immediately, granted his rights to due process and protection.
On December 1, 2023, a combined team of Security Officers picked up a well-known Rwandese refugee, Appolinaire Nsengiyumva, who holds the Zambian Residence Permit.
Nsengiyuma had reportedly been picked up and after initial interrogation regations was detained at Ibex Police Station in Lusaka.
Organization Deputy Executive Director, Maurice Makalu, said this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday.
“His apparent imminent deportation comes at a time when the Rwandan government pushed the signing of some extradition agreements with Zambia that is meant to facilitate extradition of former refugees who Rwanda believes were associated with the 1994 genocide,” Makalu said.
He expressed concern that this refugee’s arrest was reportedly done on the grounds that he was named by Rwanda’s rebel leader, Nsabimana Callixte, in a court testimony alleging that the refugee was the rebel leader’s link.
Makalu said the Court also heard that the refugee allegedly enjoyed friendship with former President Edgar Lungu.
“These allegations, however, were denied by the Zambian government as false and sensational,” he stated.
Makalu reminded President Hakainde Hichilema and his administration that deportations of people staying legally in the country without due process was illegal.
He said it was also anti-democratic, and against the rule of law as it denied victims due process.
“As a democracy of good international standing and a country reputed as a beacon of peace, Zambia cannot and should not engage in secret and underhand methods of dealing with citizens or migrants using methods of repressive and dictatorial regimes,” Makalu noted.
He called on the international community to take keen interest in this matter and ensure that refugees who are owed protection by international law and the international community were protected.
“They must be protected from arbitrary detention and deportation to places where they can be persecuted and possibly killed,” Makalu said.
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