Source: Ditshwanelo (Botswana Centre for Human Rights)
DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights stands in solidarity with the Namibians from the Caprivi Strip (now Zambezi Region), and wishes to express its concern about how the Government of Botswana is dealing with the Caprivians, including their children.
The long-standing request by the Caprivians is that the Government of Botswana and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) support a peaceful resolution to their situation by facilitating constructive dialogue between them and the Government of Namibia. This request has to date not been acceded to.
The latest developments follow The Court of Appeal decision, considered after an affidavit filed before the High Court of Botswana on 23 December 2015, in support of an application brought by refugee Caprivians from Namibia, Tyson Mujela and 708 Others. It sought the court to order the Government to retain its recognition of the refugee status of the applicants in Botswana. The High Court decided in favour of the refugees. However, the Government of Botswana successfully appealed the High Court decision on 26 July 2019.
On 6 August 2019, officials from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security (MDJS),representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Dukwi Commandant met the Caprivians at Dukwi to inform them of the Court of Appeal decision. They were given until 31 August 2019 to stay in Botswana, and afforded a chance to either register for voluntary repatriation to Namibia or face deportation after the said deadline. The latest developments are a result of their request for mediated constructive dialogue not having been met. The Caprivians have expressed disappointment over the Government’s decision, but have however, accepted that it is the law of the land.