The number of people who have fled to Malawi has risen from almost 17,000 in 2013 to more than 37,000 in March 2018 and new asylum-seekers, particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are arriving each month. 

Most of those of concern to UNHCR live in Dzaleka refugee camp, which has a population of nearly 34,000, near the capital Lilongwe. More than 3,000 Mozambican asylum-seekers are in Luwani refugee camp, in the south.

In 2018, our work will include ensuring refugees and asylum-seekers receive international protection and have access to education and health care, as well as food, shelter, water and sanitation, and have the opportunity to earn a living.

We are working with the government to explore such avenues as local integration, voluntary repatriation or return, and resettlement. The emphasis will be on gaining support for the integration of refugees into national systems and the decongestion of Dzaleka camp. The government has indicated its intention to roll out Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in Malawi.

The approach from now on will be on settlement and self-reliance. This means UNHCR will press for reform of the legal framework, as well as an improvement in the process for determining refugee status. This will require wider partnerships and greater sharing of the burden.

The voluntary repatriation of 2,852 Mozambicans from Luwani refugee camp, who expressed the desire to return home in March 2017, is still awaiting agreement between the Malawian and Mozambican governments and UNHCR.

Updated 18 June 2018.

For information about our work in Malawi:

  • For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.

Contact Information

The UNHCR Representation in Malawi

Street Address:
8th Floor, Kang'ombe House, Robert Mugabe Crescent, City Centre, Lilongwe, Malawi

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30230, Lilongwe, Malawi

265 177 2155

265 177 4128

[email protected]

Time Zone:
GMT + 2

Working Hours:
Monday: 7:30 - 17:00
Tuesday: 7:30 - 17:00
Wednesday: 7:30 - 17:00
Thursday: 7:30 - 17:00
Friday: 7:30 - 13:30

Public Holidays:
01 January 2021, New Year's Day
03 March 2021, Martyr's Day
02 April 2021, Good Friday
05 April 2021, Easter Monday
03 May 2021, Labour Day (observed)
13 May 2021, Eid al-Fitr
06 July 2021, Independence Day
20 July 2021, Eid Al-Adha
15 October 2021, Mother's Day
25 December 2021, Christmas Day