BY SILAS NKALA
ZIMBABWE is experiencing an influx of asylum seekers and separated children of migrants who will be in transit from the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region.
This was said on Tuesday by Home Affairs secretary Aaron Nhepera, who told delegates at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) conference in Victoria Falls that the migrants and asylum seekers coming through Zimbabwe were running away from conflict and instability in their countries, and posing a challenge in the country.
“Over the past two decades, however, the country has largely become a source country for both regular and irregular migrants to countries in the region such as South Africa, Botswana and Namibia and to countries further afield such as the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
“Zimbabwe continues to face increasing challenges of irregular migration flows involving particularly asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and separated migrant children from the horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region who transit through Zimbabwe, quite often, to South Africa or who seek asylum in Zimbabwe due to conflicts and instability in their home countries.
“As a result, the government recognises the importance of a coherent policy response to address the challenges related to these mixed migration flows.”
Nhepera said government also recognised the immense opportunities presented by a growing diaspora population in the social and economic development of the country in terms of investment in areas of agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, banking and finance and others.
He said government had developed a National Diaspora Policy and a National Labour Migration Policy to address migration challenges.
“This workshop to finalise the development of the National Migration Policy comes at an opportune time when the government is intensifying implementation of migration policies for sustainable development in line with the Global Compact on Safe Orderly and regular migration,” Nhepera said.
“The attainment of sustainable development goals will go a long way towards improving migration management and attest to the government’s commitment towards ensuring respect for migrant rights in Zimbabwe.”
Nhepera said once launched, the policy would require technical and financial support from development partners like the IOM and United Nations during implementation.