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Printing of long awaited refugee identity cards commences: Gvt committed to receive and protect asylum seekers and refugees

Printing of long awaited refugee identity cards commences: Gvt committed to receive and protect asylum seekers and refugees

The government remains committed to living up to its obligation to receive and protect asylum seekers and refugees by the provisions of the international law, the deputy minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Lucia Witbooi said during World Refugee Day held on Thursday at Osire Refugee camp.

Speaking at the event Witbooi said the ministry has commenced with the printing of long-awaited refugee identity cards which are renamed “Guest of Africa Identity Cards”.

“These are biometric cards and will provide refugees with official identification and reinforce the sense of belonging, dignity, and access to the right services they might need,” she said, adding that these cards will be distributed to the refugees to serve as identification.

Previously, refugees who wanted to submit identification for banking, employment, or education were issued with Travel Documents. This practice will no longer continue, travel documents will strictly be issued to those intending to travel outside the country, while refugee IDs will be issued to all refugees above the age of 16, she explained.

To date, Namibia hosts a total number of 6351 asylum seekers and refugees from different countries of Africa.

“Majority of them are from the Democratic Republic of Congo with others from Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe Kenya, Tanzania, to mention but a few,” she said, adding that the government, through home affairs in partnership with UNHCR continues to provide safety and security, shelter, food, health, education and other basic human needs to all asylum seekers and refugees.

In the promotion of durable solutions for refugees, the Namibian, and DRC governments and UNHCR have facilitated voluntary repatriation of 183 DRC nationals back to their country of origin, she added.

“These refugees were repatriated in safety and dignity and were successfully integrated with their families and relatives in Congo,” she said.

Namibia meanwhile will continue with this initiative to engage other countries that retain peace and whose nationals are here as refugees, she concluded.


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