Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Beatrice Mutali - Official Opening of the Local Integration Stakeholders’ Consultation
- The Honorable Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Mr. Jack Mwiimbu, MP
- Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, responsible for protection, Ms. Gillian Triggs
- The Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs and Internal Security
- The Zambia High Commissioner to Switzerland
- Other Senior Zambian government officials
- Members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Members of the UN Country Team
- Representatives of the other stakeholder organizations
- Representatives of the Refugee and former refugee communities in Zambia
- Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
- All protocols observed
I welcome you all to this important event and wish to note the presence of the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, responsible for protection, Ms. Gillian Triggs who is in Zambia on an official visit.
Zambia has been home to thousands of asylum seekers over the years owing to not only the peace and stability but also the generosity of the Government and people of Zambia.
Let me, therefore, start by thanking the Government and people of Zambia for continuing to open doors and providing shelter and safety to our bothers and sisters when they flee conflict in their countries.
Zambia has today refugees, asylum seekers as well as those who have been invited to become part of the host communities through integration.
As noted in the background document, our consultation this morning, is aimed at providing participating stakeholders an opportunity to discuss progress made to date towards local integration of refugees in Zambia and to identify opportunities to some of the issues faced from a legal point of view. It is gratifying to see the participation from key sectors
Ladies and gentlemen
Many of us may be aware that Local integration is one of the three durable solutions for addressing refugee situations, along with Voluntary Repatriation and Resettlement to third countries. We also recognize that attaining full integration is a complex and gradual process which requires stakeholders to address legal, economic, social, and cultural dimensions. Successful local integration requires collaborative efforts by individuals seeking to be integrated, the host community, the host government, cooperating partners and, sometimes, as is now the case for Zambia, the countries of origin join.
While recognizing this, it is clear that without addressing the legal aspects of the local integration to ensure that the candidates have equal access to legal documentation, it is not possible for them to have guaranteed access to certain key services and fully enjoy fundamental rights. Further without this legal process, the opportunity for them to optimize their economic potential is lost and they continue to be dependent on the host government and the donor community. This is a major lost opportunity as they are capable individuals with different talents … able to start their own businesses and or get employment which would lead to improving their livelihood, enable them become self-sustaining and further contribute to the economic development of the communities in which they live.
I, therefore, take this opportunity to make an earnest appeal to the Government of the Republic of Zambia to consider all options legally possible to put the issue of legal documentation to rest and unlock potential investments from partners to address other aspects in line with the pledges made by Zambia at the
High-level Forum on Statelessness and the Global Refugee Forum in October and December 2019 respectively.
Honorable Minister, ladies and gentlemen
The UN in Zambia has been working with the Zambian government to actualize local integration of Angolan and Rwandan former refugees under the Sustainable Resettlement Project. The support provided includes accessing legal documentation, enhancing livelihoods, self-reliance and fostering economic inclusion, as well as interventions aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence with the host communities.
The United Nations Country Team is ready to build on the on-going collaboration, to support the Zambian government in ensuring that the local integration and other pledges are actualized in the spirit of the burden and responsibility sharing as well as the whole of society approach contained in the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants as well as the Global Compact on Refugees. We also remain committed to reaching out to and collaborating with other partners including development partners, international finance institutions, I-NGOs, and the private sectors to support the implementation of the pledges.
As I close, allow me to state that this meeting represents an opportunity to address the issues around concluding the legal aspects of integration and chat the way forward on sustainable development aspects.
I, therefore, urge all of us to seize this opportunity to work towards the desired results.
I thank you.