Lusaka. June 9, 2015.
LUSAKA – In a clear confirmation of United States commitment to durable solutions for refugees, a delegation of senior U.S government officials concluded a visit to Zambia’s two refugee settlements of Meheba and Mayukwayukwa, touring projects under a local integration program for former Angolan and Rwandan refugees.
The U.S. delegation, led by U.S. State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Office of Assistance to Africa Deputy Director Mary Lange and accompanied by Government of the Republic of Zambia and UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) officials, applauded the Zambian Cabinet’s recent approval for local integration of Rwandan refugees, describing the development as adding a new impetus to the local integration initiative, and a clear example which should be emulated by other countries hosting refugees.
Ms. Lange said, “The local integration of Angolans, and now Rwandans, is a major example around the world as one of the durable solutions for refugees. Zambia has been an exemplary host to refugees over the past 50 years.” She added, “We strongly commend the commitment made by the Zambian government to the local integration program, and hope more support will be rendered to the Government of Zambia and UNHCR to move the program forward.”
While in Zambia, the U.S. delegation met with various stakeholders, Zambian government representatives, donors, NGOs, UN agencies, and former refugees, to discuss matters related to the local integration program in Zambia.
UNHCR Representative to Zambia Laura Lo Castro described the U.S. delegation’s visit to the two refugee settlements as a clear indication of the U.S. government’s commitment to and strong interest in the welfare of refugees and former refugees. She further thanked the United States for its financial support of UNHCR’s work in Zambia.
In April 2015, the U.S. government announced its contribution of USD 2.9 million to support programs for refugees and former refugees in Zambia, of which USD 1.5 million was earmarked for the local integration of former refugees. The Government of the United States of America is a major donor to the UN Refugee Agency providing nearly 25% of UNHCR’s global budget.
Zambia hosts more than 52,000 refugees from Angola, Burundi, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).