ONGWEDIVA – The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration will initiate a tripartite commission between the Namibian and Zimbabwean governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to invoke a cessation clause giving Zimbabwean refugees a deadline to leave Namibia.
The cessation clause will give the 148 Zimbabwean refugees being sheltered at Osire refugee camp in central Namibia, located 200 km north of Windhoek, a target date to pack up and go home.
Osire was established in 1992 to accommodate refugees from Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Somalia.
Currently there are 148 Zimbabwean refugees at the camp at Osire where Namibia currently hosts 8,005 refugees altogether.
Last year, Namibia housed 7,338 refugees altogether and had repatriated quite a handful to their home countries, mainly Angolans, Rwandese and Burundians, New Era reported last year.
Namibia’s Commissioner for Refugees Likius Valombola said the refugees can no longer use the reasons they had used to flee their country as valid reasons anymore to stay on in Namibia, emphasising that refugees flee their country because of prosecution or war.
“The circumstances under which the refugees have fled their home country have ceased, hence there is no reason to continue staying in the country,” Valombola stressed.
New Era last year reported that a handful of Angolan refugees were successfully voluntarily repatriated, while 366 have been integrated locally.
Recently, about 20 Namibians who were at Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana returned home as the cancellation of their refugee status approaches.
Namibian refugees in Zimbabwe have been given until July 11 to be voluntarily repatriated.
Failure thereof their refugee status will be terminated and instead they will be regarded as illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, the regional newspaper the Southern Times reported that about 700 refugees at Dukwe have started returning home ahead of the December 31 deadline.