Refugees living in Zambia have commended the Zambian government for following the African Union (AU) convention for Refugees Act number one of 2017.
Speaking to ZANIS in an interview, Rwandan Refugees Association coordinator Innocent Rukudo said the Zambian government should be commended for abiding by the international regulations regarding the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers.
Mr. Rukudo who has stayed in Zambia for over 23 years, noted that refugees in Zambia are treated well just like ordinary citizens because they have equal rights to movements, education and health among others.
He observed that compared to other countries, when it comes to education, refugees in Zambia are free to choose which school they want to go to, be it primary, secondary or tertiary education.
“You know in Zambia there are a lot of refugees in these Zambian schools, and the reason is simple, because the Zambian government has followed what the AU convention treaties they signed said about how refugees should be treated by the host countries.” Mr. Rukudo said
Mr. Rukudo observed that even with the free education system policy that was introduced by the new dawn government, most if not all the refugees have access to that policy and there is nowhere where it says refugees should not benefit from this policy.
He said even when it comes to access health care services, refugees are free to go to any health facility and they are treated well just like any other ordinary Zambian adding that even to access other services like trading, refugees are free to do so in Zambia unlike in other countries where they are victimized.
Mr. Rukudo who was happy that Zambia will in a few days host the 4th Midyear African Union Summit, said he hopes that as African leaders will meet to deliberate on different matters, they should also look at some of the challenges that refugees are faced with.
He said most refugees not only in Zambia are asked to pay for permits which he said was not agreed by the international treaties adding that permits are for investors and not the refugees.
And one of the youth representatives for refugees Phillbert Mujiyambere also called on African leaders to integrate youths who are refugees and want to acquire different skills that can help improve their welfare.
Mr. Mujiyambere added that as African heads of states and ministers met in Zambia for the AU summit in a few days, he said they should consider putting up stiffer integration skills or programs that are aimed at helping empowering refugees.