Cabinet instructs home affairs to repatriate Burundians

Namibia hosts 7 500 asylum seekers

26 July 2021 | International

NAMPA

WINDHOEK

Cabinet has directed the immigration ministry to enter into an agreement with the Burundian government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which will expedite the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees in Namibia.

This is according to the latest cabinet resolutions, which highlighted that senior officials from the Namibian and Burundian governments, as well as those from UNHCR, held a tripartite meeting on the issue.

The ministry has since been directed to enter into an agreement with Burundi and the UNHCR regional representatives to pave the way for the voluntary return of Burundian refugees from Namibia safely and with their dignity intact.

Earlier this year, deputy home affairs, immigration, safety and security minister Daniel Kashikola, while tabling his ministry’s budget, indicated that out of their N$5.7 billion budget, N$11.2 million is reserved for the management of refugees in the country.

At the time, Kashikola highlighted that the government was in engagement with the governments of Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and UNHCR to find amicable solutions to those countries’ nationals who continue to flee to and find a home in Namibia.

He said Namibia continues to receive asylum seekers on a daily basis as the country hosts about 7 500 asylum seekers and refugees, mostly from the Great Lakes Region, entering the country through Zambezi’s regional capital, Katima Mulilo.

In the meantime, while some of the refugees come straight from their home countries, others, mainly nationals of DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, are coming from South Africa due to xenophobic attacks.

Kashikola said engagements with the governments of Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC are being done to facilitate the smooth repatriation of those refugees willing to go back home.