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Lesotho marks World Refugees Day

’Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — Refugees living in Lesotho on Friday joined the rest of the world in marking World Refugee Day.

The celebration was held under the theme: ‘One refugee without hope is too many’.

The director of the police directorate, Limakatso Ntlhoki, who spoke on behalf of home affairs minister Lesao Lehohla, said there was need to recognise the courageous spirit and resilience of refugees throughout the world.

“We are gathered here today to recognise bravery, power and strength of mind of women, men and children who were required to flee their mother countries under danger of discrimination, clash, and aggression,” Ntlhoki said.

“It is our expectation that those we have granted haven should respect all the laws of this country and by all means shun criminal activities.”

She added: “In this country we understand that refugees and asylum seekers are not potential criminals, but are persons who have fled from violence or persecution and deserve protection and assistance not suspicion or ridicule.”

The commissioner of refugees, Mohlolo Lerotholi, said the refugees’ day is also celebrated to encourage members of the public to show solidarity with refugees living in the country.

“Often confused with economic migrants, refugees flee their countries not for economic gain but to escape persecution, the threat of imprisonment and even threats to their lives,” Lerotholi said.

“On World Refugee Day, let’s not forget that some day in the future any one of us could be knocking at a stranger’s door hoping to find a safe and friendly shelter.

“We should extend refugees the same kind of welcome we would like to receive if we were in their position,” he said.

One of the refugees, who spoke to the Sunday Express, Clara Chungu, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, thanked the government of Lesotho for its hospitality.

It was not possible to establish how many refugees are currently living in Lesotho.

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