Thousands of Zimbabweans flooding into surrounding countries

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) says Zimbabweans are migrating into other countries in the region and 42 percent of those are escaping economic hardship.

Regional media reports cite a research document entitled ‘The displacement of Zimbabweans into Malawi and the Implications for poverty eradication efforts,’ conducted in April 2007 by CHRR says 11.5 percent of Zimbabweans left because of political instability while eight percent have fled in fear of political persecution.

CHRR says its finding reveal that 52.4 percent of Malawians view the migration of Zimbabweans as beneficial to the country, while 28.6 percent think the situation was negatively affecting the country.

 Some media reports claim that over 100,000 Zimbabweans have fled to Malawi. The Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) says it is concerned that if nothing is done about this situation, the numbers of Zimbabweans flooding into Malawi and surrounding countries is likely to increase and in Malawi’s case put further pressure on Malawi’s fragile economy.

Many have entered the country with fake Malawian passports according to the CHRR. The Malawian department of Immigration has conceded that the majority of those crossing the boarder into Malawi are Zimbabweans who bribe officials for Malawian passports.

The Botswana government is alleged to have announced that it intends intensifying security along its two borders with Zimbabwe as thousands of Zimbabweans were illegally entering their country.

CHRR claims it has made recommendations to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at regional levels to treat the crisis in Zimbabwe with urgency because of the negative impact the migration was having on SADC’s goals of poverty eradication.

The CHRR also says it wants the SADC to engage the Zimbabwean government in talks to ensure respect for human rights regardless of political loyalties.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition led the study with its regional partners: CHRR in Malawi and Southern Africa Legal Assistance Network of Zambia and the Botswana Centre for Human Rights. 

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