Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- The Namibian government said it is in a quandary over the status of more than 8,000 refugees in the country, following a UN refugee agency's move to downsize its operations in the country.
The UNHCR has been downsizing its operations since 2005 and by the end of next year, would only be operating with a few staff.
The Government said Tuesday that it was still hosting 8,000 refugees living in Osire camp and an additional 1,300 who are being housed at various centres outside Osire camp.
About 75 percent of the refugees are from Angola, while the rest are from DR Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.
Government said that rationalisation of the UNHCR’s activities in the country would result in the ministry of home affairs and immigration taking over the running of Osire camp.
The Namibian Cabinet, which deliberated on the issue, however said that the departure of UNHCR would create a financial strain on the home affairs ministry.
“The ministry of home affairs and immigration recognises the need to find a durable solution for the refugees in Namibia, because if the status quo continues, it will hold financial challenges for the home affairs ministry and the government, especially in 2010 when the UNHCR should have completed its rationalisation process,” the government said in a statement.
Namibia said it was now working with the UNHCR to formulate a policy framework on local integration, and that the home affairs ministry had been authorised to terminate the continuing ‘prima facie’ status enjoyed by Angolan refugees despite the end of the war in their country and a fundamental positive change in the circumstances which made them flee their country.