A local organization Millennium Information and Resources Center has asked Government and the United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to explain the existence of the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district.

This follows reports that UNHCR is building permanent houses at the camp, a development that the organization’s director Frywell Somanje says raises a number of questions.

Somanje says that whatever UNHCR is doing is an infringement to the rights of locals surrounding the camp as the population at Dzaleka is forcibly getting land from poor Malawians as most of the land surrounding villagers are in the hands of refugees at the camp.

Somanje added that the camp is expanding extensively which was mounting pressure on Malawian Citizens and the scramble for natural resources.

“The UNHCR is trying its best to build permanent houses for the refugees, now if the refugees are here on a temporary basis why is this happening?,” asked Somanje.

However, responding to the development, the UNHCR says the government through the Ministry of Homeland Security is the administrator of refugee camps in Malawi, therefore, it was in a better position to comment on the matter.

Spokesperson in the ministry Andrew Nyondo says Dzaleka has never expanded since its inception in 1994 the size of the land has remained in the allocated 201 hectares.

Nyundo says what is being done to address the congestion is the reallocation of land meant for agricultural activities for shelter to meet the housing demand.

Meanwhile, the government has been pushing on increased cases for resettlement and voluntary return of refugees.

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