Namibia considering cessation clause for Dukwe refugees

31 May 2013 09:40
WINDHOEK, 31 MAY (NAMPA) - The Namibian authorities are considering to propose a cessation clause for the about 900 Namibian refugees still living at the Dukwe refugee camp in neighbouring Botswana.
The Namibian Commissioner for Refugees, Nkrumah Mushelenga said on Wednesday that the authorities are also looking into whether it is possible for the Botswana Government to offer amnesty to a few Namibians, such as women and children.
Mushelenga was speaking at the United Nations? High Commissioner for Refugees? (UNHCR) Donor/Diplomatic briefing here.
A cessation clause would ensure that a person's refugee status, which was properly and legitimately granted, comes to an end.
Amnesty, on the other hand, is a general pardon of offences, especially political offences or offences against a government.
?Circumstances that characterise the definition of a refugee do not exist in this country anymore. Of course, there is no country that can claim absolute peace, stability or absolute economic sufficiency, but the reality is that this country enjoys what it fought for?, he noted.
Mushelenga said UNHCR Namibia has pledged to work towards a world without refugees, and in order to achieve this dream, it is working towards ?pull factors?.
?We should replace push factors with pull factors so that people will be willing to return home. Push factors are issues that pushed them out and have ceased to exist, and home is home?, he said.
'Push factors' are normally politically-oriented, socio-economic or cultural.
Mushelenga said tripartite meetings have been ongoing between the governments of Namibia and Botswana to look at another reactivation of the voluntary repatriation of Namibians from the Dukwe refugee camp.
?Another way of pulling them to return home is to arrange for a number of them to come to Namibia with UNHCR Botswana for them to see whether the reasons why they left the country still exist?, he continued.
However, the promotion of voluntary repatriation at times does not work, as there is still the reluctance from some, mainly those with a guilty conscience who left the country because of stock- theft, and who are influencing others not to respond, he indicated.
Mushelenga said both governments are working tirelessly on strategies and incentives to make sure all Namibian refugees come home willingly, and not through force.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNHCR Country Representative Dr Lawrence Mgbangson said if the Namibian Government wants to apply for a cessation clause for the refugees in Dukwe, it will have to do its homework first.
?Things must first happen here that will pull or entice them to come back home. Perhaps, if they are given incentive packages, they would return. Let the conditions of the area of return be lucrative?, he said.
As an example, Mgbangson cited the repatriation of Angolan refugees from Namibia, saying when those people were repatriated from May to December 2012, a repatriation package was included in order to help sustain them as they started all over in Angola.
Close to 3 000 Angolans were repatriated then.
In February this year, Caprivi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu welcomed home 29 refugees who returned voluntarily to Katima Mulilo through the Ngoma and Kasane border posts.
The group was said to be part of the refugees who had fled the country in the year 2000, following the failed bid to secede Caprivi from the rest of the country in 1999.