Repatriated Angolan Refugees Reintegrated

The Angolan Embassy in Namibia says the over 3000 former Angolan refugees who voluntarily repatriated from Namibia have reintegrated and have started engaging in business to help construct the oil-rich country that endured a bitter civil war.

The Angolan conflict only ended in 2002 after the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. The Ambassador of Angola to Namibia, Manuel Alexandre Duarte Rodrigues, yesterday said the former voluntary repatriated refugees are coping well after being exiled by the civil wars in that country that lasted from1975 till 2002 when Savimbi was vanquished.

“The former Angolan refugees are living in different provinces. They are working towards the construction of Angola. Most of them use to come visit Namibia becuase they are doing business here. And many of them come visit since they have relatives here,” he said.

Over 3000 Angolan refugees in Namibia have been repatriated back to their country, after their classification of refugee status ended. Their repatriation is a result of the invocation of the cessation clauses entered into force on June 30, 2012 on the basis that Angola has enjoyed many years of peace and stability after bitter civil wars.

This means people who fled the two eras of conflict and remain abroad will no longer be regarded as refugees by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and host governments.

After the 2012 United Nations cessation clause of which the deadline for Angolan refugees to voluntarily go home, Namibia had about 5000 and of those refugees 3000 were left on their own.

The remaining, 2000 requested the Namibia government to locally integrate them. However, cabinet heeded to their call and decided to give them Namibian citizenship.

The former Angolan refugees passports were received yesterday from Luanda and handed over to the Ministry of Home of Affairs for endorsement of permanent residence permit.

Home Affairs and Immigration Deputy Minister, Elia Kaiyamo who received close to 1000 passports from the Angolan ambassador to Namibia commended the Angolan government for the collaborative efforts to speed up the process of leading to the successful implementation of the local integration process.

He therefore, instructed the immigration department to ensure for a speedy endorsement of the permanent residence permit in the passports as a final step to the “successful conclusion” of the local integration of former Angolan refugees into the Namibian society.

“The process of Angolan refugees is peacefully closed. They can now move freely in the region. Namibia and Angola can close the chapter of with the hope that we don’t need refugees anymore,” Kaiyamo said.

He also directed the refugee administration to work together with the Angolan Embassy and UNHCR to commence with the self settled Angolans living along the borders as per cabinet decision.

More than 23 000 refugees mainly Angolans arrived shortly after Namibia’s independence in 1990 and were housed at Osire refugee camp in Otjiwarongo.

Source : New Era