Operation: Opération: Zambia



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
12,770  Congolese refugees were biometrically registered and hosted at the Kenani transit centre
100% of resettlement target was met: total of 604 refugees were submitted for resettlement, and 402 departed to a third resettlement country
100% of people of concern had access to primary health care in refugee hosting sites in Zambia
950 children received educational support
1,150  households received livelihoods support, and 105 households were enrolled in the Graduation Approach programme 
2018 planning figures
100% of people of concern will have access to primary health care
95% or more, of deliveries in the two settlements will be attended by trained midwives
90% of households will not use harmful coping strategies with regard to food security
60% of people of concern will receive antiretroviral therapy 
6,000 Congolese cases will be processed for local integration, subject to the approval of the Government

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 68,340
2016 57,209
2015 52,179


[["Refugees",41269],["Asylum-seekers",4677],["Others of concern",22394]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[14.99645596,13.77666413,19.5134076,17.61131682,13.60990976,32.27906715],"expenditure":[8.00941753,9.46195797,8.98553227,10.45134148,11.87396096,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[14.99645596,13.77666413,19.5134076,17.61131682,13.60990976,32.27906715],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[8.00941753,9.46195797,8.98553227,10.45134148,11.87396096,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

The political situation in Zambia remained stable throughout 2017. The new Refugee Act of April 2017 introduced positive legislative changes in refugee status determination procedures as well as in refugees’ access to education and employment.

Due to continued volatility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), thousands of Congolese sought asylum in Zambia while other nationalities also continued to arrive.

Building on its past experience with the local integration framework, and mindful of the need for a multi-partner emergency response, Zambia has rolled out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). The ongoing response for new arrivals from the DRC forms part of the rolling-out the CRRF in Zambia, including the identification of sustainable response strategies and involvement of development actors from the onset of an emergency. Opportunities for engagement of non-traditional partners, including development actors and the private sector are being explored in line with the CRRF implementation in the protracted refugee settlements in other parts of Zambia to boost efforts towards self-sufficiency and reliance, solutions and peaceful coexistence. The main focus areas identified for CRRF are connectivity, energy and mobility.

UNHCR remained involved in the local integration programme of former refugees through the provision of access to legal documentation.

Population trends

As of end of 2017, Zambia hosted 68,340 people of concern to UNHCR including 41,270 refugees, 4,680 asylum-seekers and 22,390 former refugees. Half of refugees hosted in Zambia came from the DRC of which over 12,700 arrived between July and December 2017. In 2017, there were nearly 18,200 asylum claims of which 15,580 were granted refugee status.

Key achievements

  • The inter-agency response to the influx of refugees from the DRC was successfully implemented.
  • The development of a new Mantapala refugee settlement in Luapula Province was initiated to decongest the Kenani transit centre.
  • The new Refugee Act 2017 introduced the right to self-employment, the right to primary education as well as fast track RSD procedures for vulnerable asylum-seekers.
  • A country-wide biometric verification exercise of refugees, former refugees and asylum-seekers in Zambia was completed.
  • Former Rwandan refugees were offered three-year residence permits with an exceptional waiver of the requirement to provide national passport. Some 1,500 applications have been submitted to the Department of Immigration for processing.

Unmet needs

  • A number of activities and assistance to people with specific needs, including elderly people, were unable to be supported due to limited resources.
  • Insufficient resources to support the Government in improving the road to new Mantapala settlement to facilitate the relocation of refugees from Kenani transit centre.

Working environment

Zambia has a long history of providing land, security and access to public primary health and education services to refugees. Nevertheless, the current encampment policy forces large numbers of refugees to relocate irregularly to urban areas in search of economic opportunities, putting them at risk of exploitation and detention.

Funding shortages will negatively impact on access to education and secondary health care, as well as the targeted assistance to vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers. The implementation of the mixed migration strategies, as well as the pilot detention strategy will also be affected. 

Key priorities

In 2017 the UNHCR operation in Zambia will focus on:

•    pursuing legal aspects of the local integration of former Angolan and Rwandan refugees;
•    advocating to extend local integration to protracted Congolese and Burundian refugees;
•    pursuing resettlement to a third country for some 1,300 refugees with special protection needs; 
•    strengthening child protection activities by enhancing the capacity of partners to conduct best interest determination and to identify solutions for unaccompanied and separated children; 
•    further exploring and implementing alternatives to detention;
•    continuing the prevention of SGBV through community sensitization;
•    supporting the Government to fulfil its pledge to accede to the 1961 Statelessness Convention.