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Malawi: Update to MWI27304.E of 18 July 1997 on whether Malawi has a process to recognize Convention refugees, and if so, details of the process and recent statistics on refugees in Malawi

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 26 March 2003
Citation / Document Symbol MWI41369.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Malawi: Update to MWI27304.E of 18 July 1997 on whether Malawi has a process to recognize Convention refugees, and if so, details of the process and recent statistics on refugees in Malawi, 26 March 2003, MWI41369.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4dd97.html [accessed 31 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The process involved in granting refugee status in Malawi is outlined in Section 3 of the Malawi Refugee Act, which entered into force on 8 May 1989, and is posted on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees "Country of Origin and Legal Information" Website. An excerpt of Sections 3 and Section 6 of Refugee Regulations, 1990 are reproduced here below:

The following procedure for seeking asylum in Malawi is stipulated in Refugee Regulations, 1990, also posted on the UNHCR Website:

(3)Subregulation (1) shall not apply to any group of foreign nationals seeking refugee status in Malawi, in respect of whom the Minister has, under section 7(3) of the Act, directed that a group determination procedure shall apply.

For additional information on refugee determination in Malawi, please consult the attached documents.

Most asylum seekers and refugees in Malawi reside in Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district (ACIS 3 Feb. 2003; Country Reports 2001 2002, 421; UNHCR n.d). The UNHCR indicates that,

As at 31 December 2001, the LO [UNHCR office in Malawi] registered 6,920 refugees/asylum seekers under the Care and Maintenance programme. By the end of June 2002, the figure increased to 9,235 individuals. Most of them are staying at the Dzaleka refugee camp. The majority is from Rwanda, the DRC, Burundi and Somalia. There are also smaller numbers of refugees of other nationalities like Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda (ibid.).

Country Reports 2001 observes that, although the law does not allow refugees to seek permanent resettlement nor to study and work, the government allowed refugees to"seek both employment and educational opportunities" in 2001 (2002, 421). According to the African Church Information Service (ACIS), Malawi is becoming a "victim of its hospitality" because they are "illegally taking over businesses and even engaging in corrupt as well as illicit business deals" (3 Feb. 2003). Consequently, immigration authorities reportedly blame UNHCR of "hasty screening of illegal aliens and granting of refugee status." However; UNHCR counters that "the administration of asylum seekers is the responsibility of the Malawi government" (ACIS 3 Feb. 2003).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

African Church Information Service (ACIS). February 2003. Hobbs Gama. "Asylum Seekers Who Pose a Threat to Security." [Accessed 24 Mar. 2003]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Republic of Malawi. 8 June 1990. Refugee Regulations, 1990.    [Accessed: 24 Mar. 2003]

_____. 8 May 1989. Refugee Act. < [Accessed 24 Mar. 2003]

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2003. "Malawi Country Operations Plan 2003." [Accessed 25 Mar. 2003]

Attachments

Republic of Malawi. 8 June 1990. Refugee Regulations, 1990. [Accessed: 24 Mar. 2003]

_____. 8 May 1989. Refugee Act.    [Accessed: 24 Mar. 2003]

Additional Sources Counsulted

Africa Confidential

Africa Reseach Bulletin

Amnesty International

Keesing's Record of World Events

New African

Resource Centre. Country File. Malawi

Internet sites, including,

Human Rights Watch

Relief Web

Search engine:

Google

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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