Members of the Swaziland Council of Catholic Women presenting gift packs to heads of households at Malindza Refugee reception centre at the end of the World Refugee Day commemoration ceremony.
By Princess Fakudze
In a world where millions of people continue to be displaced by situations of political violence, war and persecution on the grounds of race, religion and political affiliation there is an increasing need for countries to receive, protect and integrate asylum seekers and refugees. Swaziland is home to about 2 000 refugees and Caritas as a social arm of the Catholic Church is in a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government of the Kingdom of Swaziland to protect refugees in the country. Read more
The trauma of unplanned or forced departure of asylum-seekers from their homeland and the reality of being in a completely unfamiliar environment affects women, girls, boys and men in both similar and different ways. Some children suffer loss of family members and some have to endure separation from their parents or an adult guardian they can depend on. These children lack a reliable point of reference for guidance on how to respond to various life’s challenges they are faced with as they grow up and this can lead to confusion and despair. Read more
The Kingdom of Swaziland as a state party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, hosts about 728 refugees and 385 asylum seekers. Some of the refugees have been in the country for more than a decade. Some have successfully integrated into local society yet some have difficulty in doing likewise.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to provide international protection to refugees, which includes seeking to find permanent or durable solutions to refugee problems. The UNHCR partners with the Swaziland Government and Caritas Swaziland to carry out this mandate to refugees in the country. One of the durable solutions is resettlement. Read more
Caritas Swaziland open the Refugee Section in 1989.
In close collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (Refugee Department) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee) provide to deliver day to day humanitarian assistance in the areas of State protection, legal documentation, income-generation, domestic support, health and education.
The Kingdom of Swaziland ratified the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspect of Refugee Problems in Africa in 1989 and the 1959 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in 1995. Further, Swaziland ratified the Kampala Convention, in 2012.
Caritas Swaziland assists refugees and asylum seekers, who reside in the Malindza Refugee Reception Centre (Lubombo Region), and the major sites like Mbabane, Manzini and other towns all over the Country.
Generally they escape from their Country of origin because of wars, persecutions, hunger, violation of human rights and a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion or nationality, looking for freedom, safety and protection. They come predominantly from the Great Lakes Region, like Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Report on Malindza fire incidents and demonstrations by Somali Asylum-seekers
The Caritas Swaziland Refugee Programme, being the sole implementing partner to the UNHCR in Swaziland provides services that promote the local integration of refugees and asylum seekers. Our Primary responsibility remains the provision of an integrated assistance package comprising education, psychosocial counseling, legal assistance, medical care and until recently business management training. The drive towards the attainment of durable solutions for the refugee population is a central feature of the refugee program, particularly given the incumbent local integration theme- a direct consequence of diminished resources.
Over the past two month period, the hitherto peaceful refugee protection leadership has been altered by somewhat by unfortunate events never before recorded in recent history. This report serves to reveal in detail, circumstances surrounding the events under discussion. Read more