LUSAKA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday urged the Zambian authorities to expedite the process of legal integration of former refugees from Angola and Rwanda whose refugee status has ceased.
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs said the Zambian authorities should conclude the legal integration of the former refugees by recognizing their legal identity and enabling them to be self-reliant.
She urged the authorities to meet its pledges to advance the inclusion of refugees ahead of the next Global Refugee Forum to be held in December 2023.
According to her, some refugees, who have been living in Zambia for as long as 30 years, were now at risk of being stateless.
The UNHCR official, on a five-day official visit to Zambia, further urged the authorities to consider all legal options to regularize the status of refugee children born in Zambia.
"Children born in Zambia, who have lived here all their lives, have gone to school in Zambia, speak Zambian languages, sing the national anthem and embrace the traditions of Zambian culture as Zambians," she told reporters during a press briefing to wrap up her visit.
The official, however, applauded Zambia over its exemplary hospitality toward refugees by making land available and ensuring access to several national services, including education and healthcare.
During her visit, the UNHCR official held meetings with various stakeholders involved in overseeing the welfare of refugees and visited Meheba refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in northwestern Zambia.
According to UNHCR figures, Zambia currently hosts 93,493 refugees and other people of concern in refugee settlements and urban areas.