Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – The Zambian government has announced that the refugee status of Angolan refugees in Zambia, who fled Angola as a result of the armed conflicts between 1961 and 2002, will cease on 30 June, 2012.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued a notice of cessation of refugee status for Angolan Refugees, stating that "in the light of the fundamental changes that had taken place in Angola since the end of the civil war, it is considered that those Angolan refugees remaining in Zambia who were granted refugee status on account of the civil war in Angola and the war of independence that preceded it should now be able to reclaim the national protection of their country of origin.
“Taking into consideration the announcement and subsequent recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Government of the Republic of Zambia hereby declares, pursuant to Article 1C(5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article I(4)(e) of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (conventions to which Zambia is party), that the refugee status of Angolan refugees in Zambia who fled Angola as a result of the armed conflicts between 1961 and 2002 will cease as of 30th June 2012.”
The Zambian government said it would work closely with UNHCR to give effect to the cessation of refugee status for the Angolan refugees in keeping with the relevant principles and procedures of international refugee law.
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia will collaborate closely with the Executive of the Republic of Angola, UNHCR and other relevant partners to proactively pursue all feasible measures to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of affected Angolan refugees to their home country in safety and dignity prior to the effective date of cessation of refugee status.
“The status of Angolan refugees who would not have availed themselves for repatriation and continue to live in Zambia after 30th June, 2012, will be regulated under the immigration law,” the notice issued by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Maxwell Nkole stated.
Since the end of the civil war in Angola in April 2002, over 180,000 Angolan refugees have voluntarily and safely returned to and reintegrated into their country of origin. Today, only some 23,000 Angolan refugees remain registered in Zambia.
-0- PANA MM/VAO 25April2012