UNHR delegation visits Tongogara Refugee Camp

By Tamuka Charakupa

ZIMBABWE has been praised for its commitment towards the welfare of refugees following an inagural visit to Tongogara Refugee Camp by UN Assistant High Commissioner for Human Rights, Gillian Triggs this Friday.

The country’s efforts to provide a comfortable home for refugees and asylum seekers at Tongogara Refugee Camp has been recognised by the UNHCR delegation from Geneva led by Assistant High Commissioner responsible for Refugee Protection, Gillian Triggs.

“I am here all the way from Geneva to assess the state of affairs for refugees in the country and I can say with authority that the government is doing its best for this group. I was impressed by the number of ongoing livelihoods projects being implemented by government and partners and it really speaks to the commitment by government towards enhancing welfare of refugees,” she said.

Triggs added that the UN agency will avail funding for development issues if need be, hence the site visit and interaction with refugees.

“Yes, one of the main reasons why I personally came is to assess areas which lacks funding so that we can go back to the drawing table and finds sustainable solutions and ways to capacitate the development agenda,” she said.

Head of government delegation on the occasion, the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Simon Masanga says government welcomes the visit which he notes coincides with efforts being put to the review and amend the country’s Refugee Act for continued excellent welfare support for the special group.

“As the government we sincerely welcome this visit by UNHCR leadership. It affirms their support to our cause to protect refugees. She has identified gaps that need support and funding which will also easy the burden on government if availed. As government we are continuing to implement the pledges we made such that we are reviewing the Refugee Act so as to move with time and current issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers,” he said.

Meanwhile, government has established various livelihoods projects for refugees, and set up digital and innovation hubs at the camp, while the latest pledge is to establish a community radio station as a way to bridge the information gap, among refugees.