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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LILONGWE541
2005-06-24 10:46:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

UNHCR, GOM MARK WORLD REFUGEE DAY, KEEP CAMPS OPEN

Tags:   PREF  PHUM  PGOV  EAID  MI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS LILONGWE 000541 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PRM/AFR MARY LANGE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PHUM PGOV EAID MI
SUBJECT: UNHCR, GOM MARK WORLD REFUGEE DAY, KEEP CAMPS OPEN

REF: LILONGWE 416



1. UNHCR, in coordination with the Government of Malawi
(GOM), held a day-long event to mark World Refugee Day.
Guests from the GOM, the Diplomatic Corps, and NGOs were
provided a comprehensive overview and tour at the Dzaleka
camp just north of Lilongwe. The event focused on this
year's theme, "It Takes Courage to be a Refugee" and
culminated in lively traditional dance performances by each
national group in the camp.



2. UNHCR representatives used the event as an opportunity
to inform PolOff of some recent developments, including the
GOM's decision to keep both camps in Malawi open (reftel).
According to UNHCR, the Dzaleka camp has a population of
approximately 6,000 while the Luwani camp (re-opened in late
2003) in the south of Malawi has approximately 1,000. All
new arrivals will now be placed at Luwani camp. UNHCR also
noted that the refugee population is extremely transient and
consists largely of "second-settlement" asylum applicants
who are moving from camp to camp in a southerly direction.
They speculated that the ultimate destination is South
Africa, where many refugees hope to find jobs and economic
prosperity. UNHCR and GOM officials indicated that the
refugee status adjudication process has a backlog of nearly
2,000 cases and is currently undergoing revision.



3. Officials also lamented the recent increase in criminal
activities at the camp. While the camps are largely
peaceful, they said, there have been recent isolated
incidents of mob violence related to the "gacaca" community
justice process. Additionally, they said, a few disturbing
incidents of kidnapped, murdered, and mutilated children
have occurred, likely related to "muti", traditional
witchcraft rituals. Refugee leaders and UNHCR are working
in coordination with the GOM to investigate these incidents.



4. The event featured a drama presentation on HIV/AIDS, an
issue that is not addressed at Dzaleka camp outside of a
medical context. The camp, which is organized as a large
village, has no HIV/AIDS posters, information centers, or
obvious educational campaigns other than those at the
clinic. UNHCR officials and camp administrators were not
aware of any plans to increase HIV/AIDS awareness at either
camp.
GILMOUR