MALAWI.Lilongwe: The Asian community in Malawi under the banner, Association of Asians in Maravi has shown displeasure with the way immigration officials handled the search for illegal immigrants which violated the rights of innocent individuals.
A statement released recently signed by Rafiq Hajat, Chairman of the Association termed the act by the officials of the Malawi Immigration department as retrogressive.
According to Hajat, who is also the country’s vocal human rights activist, the immigration officials invaded the suburb of Area 2, in the capital Lilongwe, where among others, they ordered women in Islamic veils to uncover their faces.
“The attitude of the officials was extremely aggressive and lacked any consideration of the rights of the residents and sensitivity to cultural and religious values,” he said.
The association further said that a similar incident happened in the eastern city of Zomba, the former capital.
As a recommendation, the Asian community asks bonafide citizens of Malawi to report to government agencies if they face abuses of such nature from officials.
The Asian community also asked the Malawi government to update some immigration laws including the Immigration Act, which gives too much power to immigration officers without further questioning their conduct.
The Malawi government is also being asked to penalize officials who tolerate illegal immigrants and facilitate their entry into the country.
A spokesperson for Malawi’s immigration department Joseph Chauwa had not yet responded to an inquiry by Transcontinental Times on the matter by the time we went to the press.
Maravi is the former name of Malawi named after Maravi Hills in the southern part of the country.
Some illegal immigrants into Malawi come by air, but others used the road route from the north bordering Tanzania.
Asians, mainly Indians, dominate the number of citizens of non-African descent in Malawi. Some of their descendants arrived in the southern African country as early as the 19th Century.