Zimbabwe + 5 more

Zimbabwe: UNHCR Operational Update, September 2018


175 asylum seekers arrived during the month of September of which 92.6% were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Zimbabwe Refugee Committee (ZRC) held its third session for Refugee Status Determination of 2018 from 3 to 6 September 2018 at Tongogara.

The population verification exercise for the Zimbabwe operation that was scheduled from 1 to 16 October was postponed due to the cholera outbreak.

20,236 persons of concern


Registered refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern as of 30 September 2018.

Percentage of registered persons of concern granted refugee status by the Government of Zimbabwe in August.

Mozambican asylum seekers living in Zimbabwe. 1,772 live in Tongogara refugee camp and 6,546 a profiled but not yet biometrically registered asylum seekers live among Zimbabwean host communities in Manicaland province

Asylum seekers who arrived in Zimbabwe between 01 January 2018 and 30 September 2018.

Host nationals (Zimbabweans) are spouses and children to persons of concern.

Update On Achievements


Achievements and Impact

  • Third ZRC Session of 2018: The Zimbabwe Refugee Committee deliberated on a total of 90 cases of asylum applications of which 26 cases were granted refugee status, 11 were rejected at the first instance while 53 cases were deferred for various checks of their refugee claims. UNHCR attended the session in its capacity as an observer and technical advisor to the committee, giving updates and clarifications on Country of Origin Information (COI), as well as addressing the committee on procedural and substantive issues as the need arose.

  • Population verification exercise postponed: The population verification exercise for the Zimbabwe operation that was scheduled from 1 to 16 October was postponed due to a restriction on public gatherings by the Manicaland Provincial authorities as a result of the on-going cholera outbreak. UNHCR will engage the authorities to put in measures to allow for the exercise to proceed.

  • Meeting with the Minister responsible for refugees Dr. Sekai Nzenza: On 24 September 2018, the UNHCR Representative paid a courtesy call to the new Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr. Sekai Nzenza. UNHCR raised pertinent issues for the Minister’s attention including review of rejected asylum seeker cases, Rwandan cessation, the repatriation of Zimbabweans from Botswana, a Goand-See visit to Mozambique to assess potential for return, and the need for more teachers in Tongogara refugee camp and others matters.

  • Meeting with Registrar General: The UNHCR Representative met the Registrar General (RG) Mr. Tobaiwa Mudede to discuss civil registration of refugees. UNHCR, based on previous discussion, requested for the RG to reconsider the downward pricing of the refugee I.D. cards which currently stand at $10 for replacement fee after the expiry of the 2 year validity date. UNHCR appealed to the RG for a cost reduction (from $10 to $5) for birth certificates issued to asylum seeker children born in Zimbabwe. In addition, there was an appeal for RG to conduct a civil documentation registration exercise in Tongogara refugee camp in the first 2 weeks of October. The RG informed the UNHCR Representative that his office will look into the costs of the I.D. cards and birth certificates to see the feasibility of implementing UNHCR’s request. The RG also informed UNHCR that his office will deploy officers to conduct the civil registration exercise in. Mr Mudede was subsequently retired from government the following day on 30 September 2018 and a new RG, Mr. Clemence Masango was appointed.

  • Statelessness: Following a meeting with the RG’s offices to discuss the way forward post-election period and the planned activities for the remainder of the year, there was agreement on: Stakeholders’ Statelessness workshop (from 06 to 08 November); Embassy Consular Clinic review meeting together with the RG’s Office; RG agreed to nominate 2 participants to attend the Statelessness course in Sanremo, Italy in October 2018. The Embassy of Zambia agreed to participate in the consular review meeting and collaborate with UNHCR on future consular clinics.

  • Resettlement support mission: The Regional Office in South Africa (ROSA) supported resettlement activities in Zimbabwe by deploying a Resettlement Expert, on a two week support mission. A total of 28 cases of 93 persons were interviewed for resettlement (17 cases of 75 persons in Tongogara refugee camp; and 11 cases of 18 persons in Harare).

  • CWS support mission: A delegation from Church World Service (CWS) visited New Year’s Gift, Tanganda in Chipinge, where Regional Service Center (RSC) pre-screening interviews are held for refugees submitted for resettlement to the United States of America. They also visited Tongogara refugee camp and met with UNHCR staff and the Camp Administrator. The CWS team assessed the camp office, UNHCR staff compound and toured the camp in light of the possibility of holding RSC circuit rides in the camp and their findings will be shared with UNHCR.

  • Meeting with the Commissioner for Refugees: On 10 September 2018, the UNHCR Representative met the Commissioner for Refugees and informed him of the interest expressed by some 275 Zimbabwean refugees in Botswana to return to Zimbabwe. UNHCR informed the Commissioner for Refugees that UNHCR Botswana had advised that the interest in voluntary repatriation followed a visit to Dukwi refugee camp by the former Zimbabwean Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Dr Obert Mpofu during an official visit to Botswana when he was still the Minister. The Commissioner indicated that there would be a need for government to assess the situation in the areas of return to ascertain the sustainability of return, whether people are actually from the areas they claim to be from and the level of support required in those communities. UNHCR informed the Commissioner that there was momentum on the Botswana side wherein an exchange of letters had taken place between the Botswana Government and UNHCR and indicated that UNHCR would provide return packages to the returnees.