A hundred refugees resettled in third countries by Namibia

OSIRE: Namibia has so far resettled 101 recognised refugees in a third country through the government resettlement programme.

Namibia’s commissioner for refugees, Nkrumah Mushelenga announced this on Friday during the celebration of World Refugee Day that took place at the Osire Refugee Camp.

Mushelenga said about 2 000 recognised refugees were expected to be resettled to third countries such as the United States of America, Canada and Australia between 2013 and 2014.

Less than 4 000 refugees reside at Osire, most of them from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Ruanda, amongst others.

Mushelenga explained that some refugees cannot go home or are unwilling to do so because they will face continued persecution and many have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection.

“In such circumstances, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) helps resettle refugees in a third country as the only safe and viable durable solution,” he said.

Mushelenga said Namibia treats refugees and asylum-seekers equally.

“They share the same quality of treatment with the Namibian population, including anti-retroviral drugs, without any discrimination,” he said.

He noted that so far, the country has successfully repatriated more than 3 000 Angolans and is expected to locally ingrate 2 400 former Angolan refugees.

Mushelenga further indicated that Namibia will continue to host the remaining refugees and asylum seekers while promoting three durable solutions as a process through which it can realise the goal that all human beings can, within prescribed rules and regulations, settle in any part of the world not as refugees, but as business men and women.

The three durable solutions are voluntary repatriation, resettlement and local integration.

Speaking at the same occasion, president of the refugee community committee, Dominique Samba thanked the government of Namibia for providing services such as water and sanitation, safety and protection, education, as well as psycho-social support, amongst others, to the refugees.

He however expressed concern about pending appeal cases for the granting of refugee status to asylum seekers.

He said more than 100 families have appealed for refugee status in the country, but have not yet received a response from government.

“We kindly ask for progress in this regard,” Samba said.

Thousands of refugees at Osire observed World Refugee Day and celebrated the 40th anniversary of the coming into force of the African Union Convention governing specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa of 1969.

Osire is situated more than 100 kilometres south-east of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.