MP Paradza wants ambassadors to meet refugees at Tongogara

Ellen Mlambo

CHIPINGE – The chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kindness Paradza is facilitating meetings between refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp and their ambassadors in Zimbabwe.

Paradza who is the MP for Makonde said this to Chipinge Times during a Parliamentary tour of Tongogara Refugee Camp, one of the largest camps for refugees in the region.

Paradza is initiating the meetings to create dialogue between refugees and representatives of their countries so that they can create some understanding and narrow their differences.

During the tour, Paradza asked if any of the refugees had met ambassadors of their countries and none seemed to have. Some of the refugees told Parliamentarians that they would want to return home provided they are guaranteed of their safety and security. Some said they wouldn’t want to go back.

The camp has 14 643 refugees and asylum seekers and 75,5% of those are from DRC.

Mozambique has the second highest number at 11,07% followed by Burundi at 6,02%.Rwanda has 4,7% and the rest of the countries have 2,53%.

It is high time that the ambassadors from for example Rwanda, DRC and Mozambique get an opportunity to meet their nationals here. Ambassadors should be able to hear the concerns and expectations of their citizens.

“This is necessary because some of the refugees want to go back home provided they are guaranteed peace and security. We will make a request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that these ambassadors meet their nationals,” said Paradza.

The committees that attended the tour were Defense, Home Affairs and Security Services, Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Senate Thematic Committee on Human Rights.

The purpose of the tour was to assess the state of the camp, find out how the laws of Zimbabwe and the International Convention affect the stay of refugees.

 “We have no problem in going back to our countries of origin for as long as peace has been restored; all we need is to be assured of our security and safety. We also have no problem with our stay here for as long as our safety is guaranteed,” said one of the refugees.

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