UNHCR starves Namibian refugees in Dukwi?

  • Caprivians deni rian and social services-allegation.
  • Govt engages Collins and Newman


United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is accused by Namibian refugees of holding back humanitarian and social services at the Dukwi refugee camp.
Last month Judge Nthomiwa Nthomiwa ruled that the Botswana government should not deport the refugees to Namibia pending the outcome of their appeal. The group of 709 refugees challenged the decision to be repatriated back to Namibia citing that they feared for their lives. The judge further ruled that the group’s leader Felix Kakula and other applicants who were held at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants be released and returned to the Dukwi Refugee Settlement camp.
However, according to the refugees, the Office of the Settlement Commandant has ceased to avail them certain services, saying they are no longer refugees.
“Since after the Court ruling of the 25 August 2018, the office of the Settlement Commandant ceased to avail certain services to us saying we are no longer refugees. Those whose Refugee Identity Cards expired are not renewed, as a result one is closed to all services that require identity cards . They ceased to write any affidavits in case a Caprivian seeks a recommendation or reference letter to any other institution,” the aggrieved refugees said in a statement.
Some of the services that have been terminated include food, health services and the youth have been barred from social activities.
They have also been barred from attending HIV workshops, livelihood, agricultural, human traffic awareness and early pregnancy awareness workshops.
The Botswana Gazette understands that the government has engaged law firm Collins & Newman to assist them on the matter. It is believed that lawyers have been given the mandate to look for an advocate in South Africa who can represent government’s interests in this case.