The Department of Refugees under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Public Security was formerly under the Office of the President and Cabinet until 2007.  It is responsible for management of refugee affairs in the country and coordination of the refugee programmes in collaboration with the United Nations of High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR).  It derives its mandate from the Refugees Act and international instruments including 1951 Geneva Convention on Status of Refugees and 1969 OAU Convention governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.

Organisation and Functions

  • The Department of Refugees is responsible for the overall coordination of refugee programme in Malawi in collaboration with the UNHCR office.
  • The Principal Secretary and the Director for Administration serve as the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees respectively. The two provide the overall policy direction and supervision in the implementation of the Refugee Programme in the country.
  • Day to day administration of the Programme is entrusted to the National Coordinator for Refugees who is in-charge of the programme at operational level.

The Department is responsible for:-

  • Conducting interviews of applicants for refugee status  through Refugee Status Determination Unit;
  • Facilitating the grant of or denial of refugee status by the Refugee Committee;
  • Providing security to refugees and workers;
  • Ensuring that Dzaleka Refugee Camp is properly administered through the Camp Administrator
  • Providing safe and portable water to refugees; and
  • General welfare of the refugees and asylum seekers.

Implementing and Cooperating Partners

The Department, which is represented by the Camp Administrator in the camp, has four partners apart from UNHCR:-

  • Jesuit Refugee Service;
  • Malawi Red Cross Society;
  • Ministry of Health ;and
  • World Food Programme

Current Activities

  • Formulation of Refugee Policy and Review of the Refugee Act
  • Verification exercise of the population of refugees and asylum seekers

Useful Links

Malawi Government

Office of the Ombudsman

Malawi Legal Aid Bureau

Ministry of Justice

Malawi Law Commission

The Malawi Parliament

The Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB)

Malawi Law Society

Malawi Judiciary

Ministry of Information


The Principal Secretary

Ministry of Homeland Security

Private Bag 31054

Capital Hill Floor No:2

Lilongwe 3


Telephone: +265 1 772 745

Fax: +265 1 740 685