Namibia to re­sume repa­tri­a­tion of refugees

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

WIND­HOEK — The Botswana and Namib­ian gov­ern­ments have an­nounced plans to re­sume the repa­tri­a­tion of hun­dreds of Namib­ian refugees from the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana, New Era re­ports.

The two gov­ern­ments were re­ported to have con­vened in Ka­tima Mulilo on Thurs­day to fi­nalise lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments to en­sure the safe re­turn of the refugees to their home coun­try.

Both coun­tries had pre­vi­ously set a dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, 2015, for vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tions to take place. Plans were, how­ever, halted when sev­eral of the refugees ap­proached the Botswana High Court to have an or­der is­sued to pre­vent their de­por­ta­tion to Namibia, a sep­a­rate New Era report re­vealed.

Botswana courts had pre­vi­ously forced and threat­ened the refugees into sign­ing up for vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tion, while de­ploy­ing de­lib­er­ate star­va­tion to en­sure that they be re­turned to Namibia, ac­cord­ing to Sun­day Stan­dard.

Records sug­gested that the repa­tri­a­tion had vi­o­lated the 2002 tri­par­tite agree­ment be­tween Botswana, Namibia and the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sion for Refugees (UNHCR), which guar­an­teed “safe and dig­ni­fied re­turn” of thou­sands who fled to Botswana fol­low­ing se­ces­sion­ist trou­bles in the Caprivi in 1998, and at­tacks there­after.

New devel­op­ments had taken place since then, with only four of the 941 refugees agree­ing to vol­un­tary repa­tri­a­tion.

The four were set to be re­turned to Namibia once their pa­per­work was com­pleted.

— News24

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