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Government pledges to support refugees

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TONGOGARA — The government has pledged to provide maximum support to refugees, saying they deserved proper rehabilitation and education facilities, as a way of empowering them.

Speaking during the World Refugee Day commemorations at the Tongogara Camp in Chipinge last Friday, Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa said refugees needed to be empowered.

“In Zimbabwe, we believe that ‘one refugee without education is too many’. This is because Zimbabwe has got one of the best literacy rates in Africa and our education system has produced manpower which is currently in demand in the region and abroad. It is therefore only proper that despite our current economic challenges, refugees benefit from the inclusive education system,” she said.

She said the government, in partnership with other stakeholders, has been able to provide rehabilitation programmes and education from infant, primary, secondary, tertiary, as well as adult education at the camp.

Mpariwa also called upon Rwandese refugees to seriously consider voluntary repatriation by June next year at the signing of a truce agreement in their country.

Tongogara camp is home to about 5 000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, who fled war from their countries.

The commemoration was attended by several government officials, UNHCR and other non–governmental organisation representatives.

Speaking at the same occasion, UNHCR country representative Marcellin Hepie hailed Zimbabwe for accommodating the refugees.

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