THE policy towards refugees is a complex issue that has been debated for years.
While some argue that it has negative and contradictory consequences, others believe that it is necessary to provide aid and support to those in need.
It is important to note that the policy towards refugees is a sensitive topic that requires careful consideration and empathy.
The well-being of refugees and their integration into society should be a top priority for policymakers and Government in general.
Lack of a policy especially in Zambia has a negative impact on refugees because their challenges could not be resolved, acting on their wellbeing needed to be backed by law.
Some refugees have been in the country for a very long time and it is only prudent that they are recognised through the law so that they are able to participate in the country’s affairs.
Therefore, the launch of the National Refugees Policy by Government needs to be appreciated by all Zambians and the international community because the challenges they have been facing will be a thing of the past.
Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, Jack Mwiimbu during the launch yesterday, said the policy was coming with solutions to the many problems refugees, asylum seekers and persons of concern face in Zambia.
Mr. Mwiimbu said he expected the strategy to have a positive impact in integrating refugees in society and their contribution to the economy.
And United Nations High Commission for Refugees Country Representative Preeta Law said the launch of the policy showed how committed Zambia was to allowing refugees integrate and contribute to society.
Commissioner for Refugees, Prosper Ng’andu said the policy seek to make Zambia an inclusive society which would allow refugees, asylum seekers and persons of concern to live side by side with Zambians.
Meanwhile, a young woman, Chance Uwela, who was born at Meheba Refugee Camp in Kalumbila, called on Parliament to pass a law which would grant citizenship to children of refugees born in Zambia.
To those refugees who have no intentions of returning to their respective countries, they will have an opportunity to be part and parcel of building the country’s economy through various economic activities.
Many of the refugees in Zambia who have been conducting businesses in various communities, have not been freely conducting their activities because they did not have rights to do so and the government has done well to recognize their presence.
Those who have had interactions with the refugees doing some businesses could attest that whenever the local authorities go around the communities, these people abandon their activities for fear being of being apprehended.
The issue now which need to be emphasised on is the need to sensitise them on the progress which Government has done so that they are aware that they have rights to participate in national matters.
Many of them maybe ignorant about the policy, and it is the onus of the government to engage them through the right channels so that they are better informed.
With this progressive legislation, Zambia will no longer be the same because even the refugees who have been kept in camps for long have a chance to integrate into society and contribute to the country’s development.