Although Zambia’s recognition of long-term refugees has earned it the name of a peaceful country, recent riots that saw many refugees return to Meheba and Mayukwayukwa after a wave of rioting sparked by fears surrounding a series of unresolved ritualistic murders, demonstrated the need for planned social integration to promote human security and achieve long-term prosperity.
Speaking at the official launch of the grant from Japan for Promoting Human Security Through Sustainable Resettlement Programme in Zambia, Honourable Minister in the Vice-President’s Office, Sylvia Chalikosa noted that the Sustainable Resettlement programme from 2017 to 2021 aims to ensure that communities living in the Meheba and Mayukwayukwa Resettlement Schemes are cohesive, productive, sustainable and fully integrated into development at all levels by 2021.
Hon. Chalikosa said, “during 2018, an increase in the number of former refugee households relocating to the Resettlement Schemes, was achieved with eight hundred and sixty-five (865) households relocated to the resettlement schemes.”
Zambia’s renowned status as a peaceful country saw over 73,000 Persons of Concern (refugees, asylum seekers, and former refugees) in the country since 1950 and an additional 11, 000 new refugees having arrived in 2017. This experience highlighted the need to ensure that in partnership with the Government of Zambia and the United Nations (UN) in Zambia, with UNDP as an Implementing Partner (IP), addresses and strengthens sustainable resettlement for promoting human security through the humanitarian-development nexus approach to ensure long-term development.
The UNDP acting Resident Representative, Israel Dessalegne said “in the case of Angola and Rwanda, where refugee status no longer applies, the Government of Zambia has offered those former refugees who have lived for many years in the country and who do not wish to return to their countries of origin, the option of taking permanent residency here in Zambia. UNDP has supported the creation of a Sustainable Resettlement approach to bring together those new permanent residents and Zambian citizens, on a 50-50 basis, into new communities”.
He noted that the Sustainable Resettlement Programme aims to meet the high ambitions and standards of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; support the local integration of former Angolan and Rwandan refugees in Zambia into new communities in designated resettlement areas; and support the local integration of youth in the Mwange resettlement scheme.
To ensure that social integration is attained successfully, the Japanese Government during the official launch of the grant for Promoting Human Security Through Sustainable Resettlement Programme in Zambia, donated USD 500, 000.00 towards the Programme implementation.
The Japanese High Commissioner to Zambia, Hidenobu Sobashima said that his country attached great value to human security. “What is very unique here is that Zambia recognizes many long-term refugee immigrants from Angola and Rwanda totaling about 23,000 people as former refugees and implementing the sustainable resettlement programme for them,” he remarked.
The cheque was received by the Minister in the Vice President’s Office, Sylvia Chalikosa. She reaffirmed the government’s commitment to locally integrate former Angolan and Rwandan refugees as pledged when the three-year local integration strategy for 2014 – 2016 was launched.
“Based on the foregoing, the vision of the entire resettlement programme is that by 2021, communities living in Meheba and Mayukwayukwa resettlement schemes are cohesive, productive, sustainable and fully integrated into development at all levels,” she underscored.
The project builds on the Sustainable Resettlement Programme, which aims to ensure that all people in Zambia, including the large number of marginalized and vulnerable people, have greater understanding of their rights and are able to claim them, have greater human security, have access to justice and have equal opportunity under the law. It will be undertaken through three distinct but interrelated outputs; households in targeted communities are enabled to improve their own livelihoods; improved availability of basic social service delivery and improved community protection and policing services.
Meanwhile, Mr Dessalegne noted that Zambia remains a country that the rest of the world admires due to its continuous offer to host refugees.
He noted that as part of the response to this emergency, UNDP will work with local government, UN Agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector to implement activities that are needed to help displaced persons and their host communities shift from humanitarian assistance to more medium and long-term development interventions.
UNDP will partner with UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, IOM, UNHABITAT, who are already included under the Sustainable Resettlement Programme, to bring together their knowledge and expertise and to create synergies by each complementing each other and following their respective mandates.