Meheba (Zambia): UNHCR has laid off around 50 refugee workers

Meheba (Zambia): UNHCR has laid off around 50 refugee workers

About 50 Burundian refugees who worked for UNHCR did not have their contracts renewed for 2023. The UNHCR explains that it is short of means to be able to pay their salary. The move triggered criticism saying its a selective measure. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

For the former refugees employed by the UN agency, it is desolate.

“Among the dismissed employees, the vice-president of the camp, three employees of the service of food including a storekeeper, five drivers and six agents of Mobile Banking”, report our sources adding that even social areas have not been spared and that “out of 20 workers in the field of combating gender-based violence, only 5 remain as more than 10 security agents, 12 employees of the hygiene as well as several employees in the fields of health and education were also thanked”.

UNHCR explains that it is unable to continue paying salaries for all workers due to lack of financial means.

“Since 1980s, this is the first time that we have run out of resources to support new arrivals. So, we have to restructure to try to limit unnecessary expenses,” underline UNHCR agents at the Meheba camp.

However, refugees denounce favouritism.

“All the laid off workers are refugees. And all the nationals stay. It is a form of discrimination or even favouritism because if it is a question of restructuring, everyone should be treated in the same way”, regret some former UNHCR employees.

The latter say that their families will suffer enormously since some of them had contracted debts with traders.

The Meheba camp has more than 27,000 refugees, including more than two thousand Burundians.

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