20 Jun 2018 19:40pm
OSIRE, 20 JUN (NAMPA) Nearly 5 000 refugees and Government officials gathered at Osire Refugee Settlement on Wednesday to celebrate the annual International World Refugee Day.
Osire is situated approximately 120 kilometres south east of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region and is home to more than 4 500 verified refugees and asylum seekers.
The day is aimed at raising public awareness on the challenges faced by refugees worldwide.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Maureen Hinda officiated at the event that was celebrated with traditional performances and reflections on humanity stories under the theme, We stand together with refugees.
In her statement, Hinda explained that the more than 4 500 verified refugees and asylum seekers are from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and other countries in small numbers.
She said they fled countries of their origin due to human made conflicts, violence and natural disasters.
She thus called on world leaders and citizens of the international community to engage one another and use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve differences without displacing the masses.
Hinda assured that Namibia will continue to provide protection and support to asylum seekers and those granted status of refugees in accordance with the international legal instruments.
While in search for a solid solution for refugees, Namibia will also work closely, in a safer and dignified manner with countries and the office of the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in facilitating the return of refugees to their countries of origins.
In 2015, the UNHCR in Namibia discontinued its technical and social operations and handed over the Osire Refugee Settlement to Komeho Namibia, which is a humanitarian organisation ensuring the upkeep of asylum seekers and refugees here.
Osire was established in 1992 to accommodate about 25 000 refugees and asylum seekers largely from Angola, Burundi, DRC, Rwanda and Somalia.
The figure reduced in 2014 when Angola regained peace and stability with its nationals who took voluntary repatriation and local integration in the country.