Malawi: Refugee Obtains Court Injunction Against Relocation to Dzaleka

The High Court in Lilongwe has granted an injunction to a Burundian refugee restraining the government from relocating him to Dzaleka refugee camp in a sweeping exercise for refugees and asylum seekers.

Sylvester Bizimana of Mgona area in Lilongwe has stopped the government from relocating him and his family to Dzaleka refugee camp and disrupting his business in any way pending judicial review.

In his ruling for the injunction, Justice Howard Pemba says that Bizimana “claims to be a Malawian citizen following all due processes and he has attached a number of documentary evidence such as his national identity card, a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of Malawi and tax clearance certificate from the Malawi Revenue Authority” among others.

Ministry of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have forcibly relocated over 1000 refugees and asylum seekers back to Dzaleka refugee camp as of May 26, 2023.

Meanwhile, the government is parrying away accusations that it is not respecting rights of the refugees and asylum seekers during the ‘operation chotsa ma Burundi’ exercise.

Ministry of Homeland Security spokesperson Patrick Botha said human rights organizations are welcome to monitor how the exercise is going on.

The US Ambassador to Malawi David Young has become the latest diplomat to condemn the relocation exercise.

But minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma has ruled out the government halting the exercise, saying the government is following all laws and international protocols in the relocation exercise.

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