19 Jun 2013 07:20
OSIRE, 19 JUN (NAMPA) ? Namibia will continue to host refugees and asylum-seekers who are present in the country, a top official within the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration announced on Tuesday.
Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, the Special Advisor to the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, said this during the commemoration of World Refugee Day at the Osire Refugee Camp.
The refugee camp, situated some 100 kilometres south-east of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region, was founded in the 1970s to provide shelter to mostly Angolan nationals who had fled the Angolan civil war.
World Refugee Day is normally commemorated annually on 20 June worldwide, but was held earlier here this year in solidarity with the Day of the African Child, which is usually observed on 16 June.
According to Tjiriange, Namibia is a product of international solidarity, and attaches value to World Refugee Day founded by the United Nations?(UN) General Assembly in 1950 in Geneva, which later established the United Nations? High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1951.
The UNHCR aims to safeguard the rights and well-being of millions of refugees displaced by wars, armed conflicts, ethnic clashes, racial discriminations and human rights abuses, among other factors forcing refugees to flee their own places of origin.
?This happens every day where hundreds of people, mostly women and children, are forced to abandon their own homes and flee elsewhere for refugee protection,? said Tjiriange.
About 2 800 refugees are still at Osire, following the repatriation of more than 3 000 Angolan refugees back to their country between 15 May and 30 June last year.
Over 6 000 refugees were in the camp before the repatriation of the Angolan refugees.
About 1 742 Angolans are still at Osire, and they want to remain in Namibia.
Tjiriange said the local integration of refugees is allowed by law in Namibia under the Immigration Control Act, Act no. 7 of 1993.
He added that Namibia will continue to seek durable and lasting solutions like urging refugees to voluntarily repatriate to their countries or resettle them here, because Namibia acknowledges its obligation towards these stateless people.
UNHCR Country Representative, Dr Lawrence Oba Mgbangson said during the same event his office will continue to work closely with the Namibian Government to integrate the remaining Angolan refugees who are not able to return to Angola for various reasons.
Osire is still home to refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC), Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Somalia, Ruanda and Burundi among other countries.
The refugee camp has an active combined school, health centre facility, police station, post office, home affairs and immigration office, vegetable gardens and various shops.