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Namibia set to resume repatriation of refugees from Botswana

15 August 2016, 13:30

Windhoek - The Botswana and Namibian governments have announced plans to resume the repatriation of hundreds of Namibian refugees from the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana, New Era reports.

The two governments were reported to have convened in Katima Mulilo on Thursday to finalise logistical arrangements to ensure the safe return of the refugees to their home country.

Both countries had previously set a deadline of December 31, 2015, for voluntary repatriations to take place. Plans were, however, halted when several of the refugees approached the Botswana High Court to have an order issued to prevent their deportation to Namibia, a separate New Era report revealed.

Botswana courts had previously forced and threatened the refugees into signing up for voluntary repatriation, while deploying deliberate starvation to ensure that they be returned to Namibia, according to Sunday Standard.

Records suggested that the repatriation had violated the 2002 tripartite agreement between Botswana, Namibia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which guaranteed "safe and dignified return" of thousands who fled to Botswana following secessionist troubles in the Caprivi in 1998, and attacks thereafter.

New developments had taken place since then, with only four of the 941 refugees agreeing to voluntary repatriation. 

The four were set to be returned to Namibia once their paperwork was completed.

- News24


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