Govt warns against registration of Namibian repatriates

29 Sep 2017 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 29 SEP (NAMPA) – Government has warned Namibians against shady groups that are falsely registering former freedom fighters for compensation from the United Nations (UN).
Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya told a media conference on Friday that these groups call themselves ‘Namibian Refugees Repatriated in 1989’; ‘Concerned Group of Refugees Repatriated in 1989’; and ‘Committee of Refugees Repatriated in 1989’.
These groups emerged September 2016, said Tweya.
“While the groups appear to be acting independently from each other, their objective is to allegedly seek clarity from the UN, particularly from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), regarding the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 435 and the repatriation, resettlement and rehabilitation programme, with respect to benefits that the repatriates should have received.”
The UN Security Council Resolution 435 paved the way for Namibia’s independence from South Africa.
The groups held a meeting with the UN Office in Namibia on 28 August, and expressed disquiet over the way the repatriation process was handled and the registration of returnees.
These groups claimed that no provisions were made for refugees repatriated in 1989 and they live in severe poverty for years thereafter.
Tweya said Government was concerned that some of the groups had initiated campaigns to register the repatriates under the pretence that they would receive financial benefits from the UN.
“The position of the Namibian Government has always been that there are no benefits or monies that should have been paid to Namibian repatriates in the context of the implementation of Resolution 435.”
The ICT minister emphasised that Government has not authorised support or condoned the registration exercises as they were unethical.
The UN in Namibia also denied any involvement in the registration of Namibian refugees in a statement issued on 19 September 2017.
“We would like to clarify that the UN is not involved in the registration of former Namibian returnees repatriated in 1989,” said National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre in Windhoek, Anthea Basson in a statement.
Tweya said the position of the UN is clear that there are no funds to be claimed, adding that Government will continue providing repatriates support within the provisions of the law.