Meheba (Zambia) : the UNHCR evades burial rights for refugees

Meheba (Zambia) : the UNHCR evades burial rights for refugees

For some time now, the UNHCR has not helped refugees to bury their dead as usual. Refugees who say they live in very difficult conditions are asking this UN agency to reconsider its decision. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The most recent case is that of a Burundian refugee who died a few days ago. The family buried theirs in difficult conditions for lack of means.

“The burial of Innocent, from the province of Gitega (central Burundi) left no one indifferent, except the UNHCR. This Burundian first died following the negligence of the nurses of ‘Meheba D Clinic’. Then, the UNHCR did nothing to ensure that he was buried with dignity. We organized ourselves but as we do not have sufficient financial means, our effort did not meet all the needs for a dignified burial”, explain Burundian refugees.

And they deplore, “Normally, the UNHCR should prepare a vehicle for transporting the body, make a coffin available, buy a sheet and a blanket, at least this basic material. But nothing has been done”.

Bad medical service

At the UNHCR-run health facility in densely populated Meheba, health care is poor.

“In any case, it is better that this clinic closes its doors because it does not help us in any way. It is supposed to be public but it receives less than ten people hospitalized in three months. Incomprehensible! On weekends, the nurses do not work , one wonders if illnesses can also take time off!”, suggest refugees from Meheba.

According to the same sources, the clinic is also short of medicines.

“There is only paracetamol even for an injured person or a malaria patient or even children suffering from various infections. We learned that stocks of drugs would be sold”.

The refugees are furious with the UNHCR. They ask this UN agency and the Zambian government to change their mentality and ensure the effective protection of refugees in all forms.

The Meheba camp hosts more than 27,000 refugees, including three thousand who are from Burundi.

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