Judicial

Refugee ID cards to be renamed

Summary

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has announced that the new look Identification Document (ID) for refugees will be called the African Guest Identity Card.In a statement issued Tuesday, the ministry said the name is being c…

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has announced that the new look Identification Document (ID) for refugees will be called the African Guest Identity Card.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the ministry said the name is being changed from the current Refugee Identity Card “within the letter and spirit of Pan-Africanism because Namibia views those who seek asylum as guests.”

The new look ID cards which feature a new layout for citizens, permanent residents and refugees, were launched in November 2021.

The cards feature machine readable zones and quick response codes.

The statement said Namibia, in line with UN Sustainable Goal 16.9, seeks to achieve identity for all, and this includes refugees.

“Namibia has acceded to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and its protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967, as well as the Organisation of African Unity Convention on the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa of 1969. These international instruments remain valid in Namibia. The Namibia Refugees (Recognition and Control) Act and the Regulations made thereunder are also still applicable with regard to the criteria for determining refugee status,” it noted.

The statement further said the renaming of the card will not affect the requirements for determining refugee status as per the requirements of section 13 of the Namibia (Refugees Recognition and Control) Act.

“The ministry would like to make it categorically clear that the new African guest identity cards will only be issued to recognised refugees in Namibia and not to every person seeking refuge or asylum. We will continue to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in addressing refugee issues in accordance with international law,” it said.

The new name will be given legal effect by amending the Namibia Refugees (Recognition and Control) Regulations before the new look African Guest Identity Cards are issued to qualifying applicants.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency