Dukwe refugees in last-ditch court bid

The Dukwe refugees are trying to halt their repatriation to Namibia in spite of government's undertaking that they will not be prosecuted.

13 July 2018 | Local News

Namibian refugees residing at the Dukwe camp have approached the Botswana High Court in a last-ditch attempt to stay in the neighbouring country.

They have launched an urgent application to stop the Botswana government from forcefully repatriating them back to Namibia.

This follows an announcement made this year by Botswana's defence minister Shaw Kgathi that the Dukwe refugees would have to leave the country by 11 July or risk being forcefully removed.

The Dukwe refugees fled to Botswana after a failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi Region from Namibia in 1999. There are an estimated 900 refugees believed to be living in Dukwe.

According to Kgathi, lawyers representing the refugees slapped his ministry with court papers, Gaborone-based radio station Yarona FM reported this week.

Responding to the developments, human rights watchdog Amnesty International slammed the Botswana government for trying to forcefully remove the Dukwe refugees.

“These men, women and children should not be forced to return home if their personal safety cannot be guaranteed,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's deputy director for southern Africa.

He said Botswana would be in breach of human rights laws, if it forcefully repatriated the refugees.

“A lot is at stake here; if the government of Botswana forces people to return to Namibia where they may face human rights violations, it will be breaching its international and national obligations under law.

“Botswana has an obligation protect and fulfil the human rights of every person who is in its territory. The government cannot ignore people who have nowhere to go to,” said Mwananyanda.

According to the watchdog, refugees based at Dukwe have accused the Botswana government of abandoning them. One refugee who spoke to Amnesty International anonymously said: “The Botswana government is pushing us. We are in a situation where we don't know where to go.”

Mwananyanda said Amnesty International was aware of another 16 former refugees, part of the initial group to flee the country, who have not received clearance from the Namibian government to return.

“This means that if they go back to Namibia they will be 'illegal immigrants' and will be detained in the Francistown Centre for illegal immigrants, and their future becomes uncertain. Amnesty International is concerned that this may result in statelessness, as well as the separation of families,” Mwananyanda said.

According to him, the Botswana authorities must ensure the dignity and safety of anyone who chooses to return to Namibia. He said the refugees should be given full information on their documentation.

Namibia's high commissioner in Botswana, Mbapeua Muvanga, however, said his country has always stood ready to welcome the Dukwe residents back.

“We have been saying that they are welcome to come back to Namibia. As far as Namibia is concerned, we are happy to welcome back,” Muvanga said.

Meanwhile, over 20 Dukwe refugees returned to Namibia in June, according to the New Era newspaper.

Namibia's commissioner for refugees, Likius Valombola, said in an interview that seven Namibian refugees registered for voluntary repatriation and were received on June 14.

“They are now with their families, well-integrated into their communities in Zambezi Region. Like those who have voluntarily repatriated before, they are well-settled within their communities and no one was persecuted or questioned. The government of Namibia is resolute in ensuring that they return in a dignified manner and are integrated into their communities without fear of persecution,” Valombola said.

According to the commissioner, there was no point in the refugees extending their stay in Botswana.

“The government is ready to receive its citizens back home with open hands because there is no point for them to live in Botswana as refugees, as per the tripartite commission between the Namibia and Botswana governments and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on voluntary repatriation,” Valombola said.

Meanwhile, Botswana's decision to ask the Dukwe refugees to return home stems from its position that it found Namibia to be politically stable.

According to its minister for defence, following the cessation of their refugee status in December 2015 and a subsequent Botswana High Court case that interdicted their repatriation, they should go back to Namibia.

The Botswana government, Kgathi said, considered Namibia to be stable, safe and secure, with well-functioning governing institutions that observe the rule of law.

This view, Kgathi said, was also supported by the UNHCR, as evidenced by the decision to invoke the cessation of the refugee status granted to those at Dukwe.


Similar News


State urged to take land by force

21 hours ago | Local News

If those currently in possession of farms are not willing to sell them to government at a reasonable price, the constitution should be amended to...

Is Windhoek hierso!

21 hours ago | Local News

Windhoek is now ranked as Africa's fifth most expensive city to live in by a survey that measures the cost of living in various cities...

Ex-cop denied bail

21 hours ago | Local News

The Windhoek High Court yesterday refused bail to a former police constable on trial for the brutal murder of his two sons in 2014.Albertus !Ganeb,...

Govt project sparks San eviction fears

21 hours ago | Local News

A first nation community, who are already experiencing poverty and despair, say their rights are being violated and government has chosen to ignore their pleas.Members...

A humble warrior

21 hours ago | Local News

As the country mourns Theo-Ben Gurirab, many have reflected on his humility, saying he always made time for friend and foe. Gurirab is being remembered...

Ohangwena tayi kondjitha ombuto yoHIV

21 hours ago | Local News

Konyala aantu yeli po 53 267 oya konaakonwa ombuto yoHIV moshitopolwa shaHangwena, moshikako shomvula yo2017/18, naantu 2 146 oya monika ombuto.Omiyalu ndhoka odha etitha...

Futeni iishoshela yepangelo - Schlettwein

21 hours ago | Local News

Ominista yEmona, Calle Schlettwein oya holola omaiyuvo gawo kutya aakwashigwana ayehe mboka haya mono iiyemo tayi pumbwa okufutilwa iishoshela oya pumbwa okufuta iishoshela yepangelo,...

Pay your dues - Schlettwein

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is of the opinion that all citizens must pay tax, irrespective of the sector they are engaged in.This follows moves by...

Air Nam appeals Zim impounding

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

Air Namibia has lodged an appeal against a court order issued in Zimbabwe to impound its planes after a Zimbabwean family sued the airline for...

Man loses head in brick machine

1 day - 17 July 2018 | Local News

A 26-year-old man lost his life on Friday in Swakopmund while he was cleaning a brickmaking machine. His head was fractured and cut off when...

Latest News

Calle urges parties to account

21 hours ago | Economics

NDAMA NAKASHOLEFinance minister Calle Schlettwein has urged each political party to remain accountable to the public in regard to the public funds it receives.The figures...

Rest easy, gentle giant

21 hours ago | Opinion

The late Theo-Ben Gurirab was without an iota of doubt a gentle giant, whose life was lived in service and dedication to Namibia's struggle for...

Dangote signs US$650mln Afreximbank loan

21 hours ago | Economics

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has signed a US$650 million loan facility with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for his oil refinery project in Nigeria.Africa’s...

New revenue agency operational by...

21 hours ago | Government

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein is optimistic that the much-anticipated Namibia Revenue Agency will be operational come 1 March 2019. This will coincide with the start...

Dippenaar blames Joschko for crash

21 hours ago | Justice

Jandré Dippenaar has placed the blame for a crash in which six people died squarely on the shoulders of Markus Walter Joschko, who was also...

CIF, NSI highlight criticality of...

21 hours ago | Economics

STAFF REPORTERAn efficient use of scarce financial resources both in the public and private sector demands an awareness and application of building standards and adherence...

Ramaphosa talks tough on mine...

21 hours ago | Economics

Safety is a huge issue in South Africa’s deep and dangerous mines and increasingly a focus for investors. A spate of deaths at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold...

NAB appoints new CEO

21 hours ago | Agriculture

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has announced the appointment of Dr Fidelis Nyambe Mwazi as its newly appointed CEO. Mwazi takes over the reins from...

Seed bill could limit imports...

21 hours ago | Agriculture

The Seed and Seed Varieties Bill, expected to be adopted by the National Assembly, could limit the importing and exporting of seeds, finance minister Calle...

Load More