Foreign Affairs Minister Grace Chiumia:  Malawi is looking forward to exploring ways to strengthen its current Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) processes  

Lilongwe, 5 May 2017: The Malawi Government will on May 8th May 2017, hold a roundtable discussion on alternatives to detention in collaboration with UN partners, civil society organisations and a visiting international delegation.

In a press release from the International Detention Coalition that was made available to The Maravi Post, states that in recent years, Malawi has emerged as – both an origin and transit destination for migrants travelling from the Horn of Africa and through Southern Africa, where routes are rife with smugglers, and human traffickers. Hundreds of undocumented migrants (mainly from the Horn of Africa), have been locked up in Malawi’s prisons for sometimes up to one year, thereby exacerbating overcrowding in the country’s jails.

The press statement further states that as a member of the Southern African Development Community  and a signatory to the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the Malawi Government has committed to explore alternatives to immigration detention, especially for children.

In the statement, the Minister for Home Affairs and Internal Security, the Honourable Grace Chiumia M.P. is quoted as saying: “We take our commitments to the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) process seriously, and we are looking forward to exploring ways to strengthen our current processes.”

The visiting delegation includes the Director of the International Detention Coalition, an international civil society network of members in 77 countries, which has identified over 250 alternatives to detention worldwide.

“Alternatives can cost up to 80% less than immigration detention” says IDC Director Grant Mitchell.

“Malawi really has an opportunity here to improve systems and save costs,” he said.

The Roundtable will take place on May 8th 2017 from8.30am – 5pm, at the Sunbird Lilongwe Hotel. The Honourable Minister will open the event at 9.00 a.m.Media are welcome to attend.

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