The Refugee Sub-Sub Committee and Legal Experts meeting was convened on 27 – 29 September 2017 in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana to review the Draft SADC Regional Policy Framework on Management of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) which forms part of the United Nations New York Declaration, adopted by the General Assembly on 19 September 2016.
The meeting was attended by the Republics of Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, United Republic of Tanzania and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Addressing the Refugee Commissioners and Legal Experts, Adv. Maemo Peter Machethe from the SADC Secretariat’s Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, emphasised the need for SADC to align the Draft SADC Regional Policy Framework on Management of Asylum Seekers and Refugees to the CRRF.
Through the CRRF, the General Assembly calls upon receiving States, cognisance of their international obligations and bearing in mind their national capacities, to among others, ensure to the extent possible, that measures are put in place to identify persons in need of international protection as refugees, provide for adequate safe and dignified reception conditions, with a particular emphasis on persons with specific needs, victims of human trafficking, child protection, family unity, and prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence.
In line with the New York Declaration spirit, Adv. Machethe also emphasised the urgency to seek long term solutions to address forced displacement of people, and called upon the global community to recognise that armed conflicts, persecution and political instability, among other factors, give rise to large refugee movements.
“There is a need to promptly address the root causes of conflict situations, prevent or resolve conflict by peaceful means and pursue peaceful settlement of disputes,” said Adv. Machethe.