Zambia Refugees
Zambia has been welcoming refugees for more than 50 years and is currently hosting over 54,000 refugees. The majority come from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. Here are 10 facts about Zambia refugees:

    1.  Many Angolan refugees have been living, working, and raising families in Zambia for over 40 years. Historically, the Zambian government has tried to repatriate refugees to their country of origin, but those that have lived in Zambia for a long period of time have little desire to leave.
    2.  In 2014 the Zambian Government, UNHCR and the U.N. Refugee Agency launched a three-year local integration strategy. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia is to benefit people who want to remain in Zambia.
    3. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia provides refugees with long-term residence permits, country-of-origin identity documents, and passports. Residents will live in one of two settlements — Meheba in North-Western and Mayukwayukwa — chosen for this purpose. They will have access to education, health services, and demarcated land.
    4. In 2016, The World Bank approved a $20 million International Development Association credit to help implement the local integration program.
    5. A study conducted by the Institute of Economic and Social Research reveals that refugees contribute to Zambia’s economy by farming, running small businesses and employing Zambians.
    6. Refugees each bring their own set of skills to Zambia, including how to run a small business, rice and cassava farming, and making clay roofing tiles.
    7. Over 24,000 refugees will be given residency permits. Also, they may apply for citizenship after living in Zambia for five or 10 years (the length of time varies depending on if the displaced person was born in Zambia or in a country outside Zambia).
    8. The Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Refugees in Zambia will provide families with five hectares of land, homes, and farming inputs and tools.
    9.  Refugee rights are protected by the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Among those rights is the right to freedom of movement and residence in whichever country they choose to live, as long as they abide by the laws in that country.
    10. Beginning in 2015, UNHCR will provide cash-based assistance to refugees instead of food. UNHCR will also help governments to provide access to social services.


Mary Barringer

Photo: Flickr