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Spare a thought for Angolan migrants

2021-03-26  Staff Reporter

Spare a thought for Angolan migrants
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The unfolding humanitarian crisis in the north, which has seen Angolan nationals flocking to Namibia in search of food and job opportunities, is very sad. 

Scores of migrants, severely affected by the drought in Angola, have made the long trek to Namibian border regions, including Omusati and Ohangwena, and have pinned their hopes on securing odd jobs such as looking after livestock in northern Namibia in order to sustain their loved ones back home. 

Good Samaritans, including some traditional authorities and the Omusati Regional Council, have come to the aid of the Angolan migrants by housing as well as providing them with food

The situation is, however, unsustainable according to Omusati governor Erginus Endjala, who told New Era this week that more Angolans were streaming into the country in search of survival. 

Although local organisations have chipped in to save the day for these migrants, the Namibian authorities, understandably, are left frustrated as they are mostly left to grapple alone with this emergency. 

In the words of Endjala, nothing much has been done by the Angolan embassy in Namibia to help address the issue, including providing shelter, food and transportation back home to the migrants.  

At this point in time Namibia has done exceptionally well by opening its heart to the stranded Angolans and providing them with shelter and food. 

Lest we forget, this crisis is happening at a time when countries have secured their borders to strengthen the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Therefore, any developing host country would be under enormous pressure to provide for migrants given the challenges and other competing priorities confronting the nation, such as the severe drought in Kunene and some parts of Omusati and Erongo regions. 

Yes, it is true that the two countries share cordial relations for years. While Angola has housed many exiled Namibians before our independence, a long-running civil war in our neighbouring country has also seen a considerable flow of refugees into Namibia. 

It is therefore critical that both countries try every possible avenue to amicably resolve this serious calamity and restore the situation on the ground. 

The authorities equally have the daunting task to ensure that these migrants are not easily lured into human trafficking activities and associated forms of exploitation and abuse. 

There is without doubt a connection between migration and modern slavery, hence the two governments have a moral obligation to protect these hapless and desperate citizens against any form of human trafficking and forced labour in line with adopted international protocols. 

 


2021-03-26  Staff Reporter

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