REFUGEES are guaranteed of continued protection in Zimbabwe. This came out at the belated World Refugee Day commemorations that were held on 30 June 2023. This year’s commemorations were held under the theme: “Hope Away from Home: A world where refugees are always included.”
In a speech read on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary of Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Edgars Seenza, the minister of Public Services, Labour and Social Services Hon Prof Paul Mavima said this year’s theme resonates with the Government of Zimbabwe’s inclusive agenda of ‘leaving no one and no place behind in development.’
“Let me take this opportunity to reassure the refugee community that Zimbabwe stands with refugees and that their safety is guaranteed. Therefore, enjoy and celebrate your stay in this great country.
“However, I wish to remind you that we cannot realise inclusion if you do not play your part. Inclusion will remain a pipedream if refugees fail to prepare themselves for the various opportunities being created by the Government of Zimbabwe and its partners.
“Let me also remind the refugee community to remain disciplined by religiously following the laws and regulations that govern your stay in Zimbabwe. We are a peace loving people hence we expect the same from you. I implore you to live in peace and to conduct yourselves in a manner that promotes peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Minister Mavima went further to assure refugees that they will not go hungry.
“My ministry is mandated to provide, oversee and strengthen social protection interventions for all people domiciled in Zimbabwe. In this regard, we finalised the Memorandum of Agreement with World Food Programme to facilitate the introduction of hybrid distribution modality.
“Our agenda is to guarantee food and nutrition security. We are aware that we cannot talk of hope away from home when refugees are hungry. We are therefore restating our policy position that no one should go to bed on empty stomach,” he added.
The minister revealed that in addition to humanitarian agencies, corporates and individuals can come aboard in refugee programmes.
“The humanitarian architecture is undergoing a revolution. Gone are the days in which the area was left to traditional donors and humanitarian agencies alone. The new clarion call is for all relevant stakeholders to join, contribute and ameliorate human suffering. Therefore, I am pleased to note that we have the private sector among us today.
“Global trends call for the private sector and individuals to step in as we strive to promote the humanitarian-development nexus. In this regard, I call upon potential players to come on board and invest in the refugee programme to complement government efforts in various sectors. The transformation agenda can only be realised through the combined efforts of various players, refugees included,” he said.