Former Angolan refugees receive permanent residency here

OSIRE; The integration of former Angolan refugees into Namibian communities is progressing well.

The Namibian Commissioner for Refugees, Nkrumah Mushelenga told Nampa on Thursday that the Angolan government started this week to issue Angolan identification documents (IDs) to former Angolan refugees who would like to live in Namibia permanently.

The Angolan IDs are needed to obtain Namibian permanent residency documents.

The issuing of Angolan IDs is currently underway at the Osire refugee camp, situated some 100 kilometres south of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Mushelenga said more than 500 cards have been handed over to former Angolan refugees at Osire, and the process will continue until all former Angolan refugees are attended to.

After the voluntary repatriation of 3 000 Angolans in 2012 and 2013, some 1 742 Angolans asked the Namibian government to remain in this country, and to be integrated.

“They are still here, and are waiting to be locally integrated. They are now called former Angolan refugees,” he stated.

The repatriation of Angolans back to their motherland is a result of the invocation of the cessation clauses entered into force on 30 June 2012 on the basis that Angola has enjoyed peace and stability for many years after the civil wars ended in 2002 after the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

Angolan nationals who fled the conflict in their country and entered Namibia in the 1990s, will no longer be regarded as refugees by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the host governments as there is now peace in Angola.

Angolans who are still at Osire are all aware that the camp is not open for them anymore, but only for refugees from other countries.

The Namibian and Angolan governments agreed in 2012 to register the former Angolan refugees to obtain Angolan national documents, such as Angolan identification cards and passports.

It was also agreed that the Namibian government should endorse their permanent residence permits in their Angolan passports.

“I am happy to inform you that their passports have already arrived in Windhoek from Luanda, and the whole process is progressing well,” he noted.