Government has threatened to revoke the refugee status of refugees engaging in criminal activities.
Deputy minister of immigration Daniel Kashikola issued the warning on Monday at a commemoration event of World Refugees Day at the Osire refugee settlement in the Otjozondjupa region. The deputy minister expressed his disappointment with some refugees allegedly involved in criminal activities.
“Nearly every third month, there is an article in the daily newspapers that a refugee has been arrested for dealing in drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, dagga and mandrax,” Kashikola said.
“This is tarnishing the good name of the country and the ministry will withdraw the refugee status of those drug dealers because they don’t deserve to be in Namibia.”
Kashikola said the ministry has observed that there are some farmers and businesspeople in Namibia who are employing some refugees and exploiting them, especially those in the charcoal industry.
“These employers are hiring refugees without following prescribed criteria for recruiting foreign nationals. Some are employed without employment permits and without signing any contract. In the
end, these refugees are paid peanuts and sometimes are not paid at all, when they ask for their salaries, they are told to go back to their countries of origin. This is unacceptable to the government of the Republic of Namibia,” he added.
According to Kashikola, refugees are the most vulnerable people, as they suffered a lot and it is unacceptable to inflict more pain on them.
“The government is keeping a close eye on those farmers and business individuals who are taking advantage of refugees and employing them illegally, once found, they will face the full wrath of
the law. The Immigration Control Act and the Labour Act are very much clear on the criteria for recruiting or hiring and paying foreign nationals including refugees,” said Kashikola.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to continue protecting asylum-seekers and refugees. “The Namibian government is behind you in search of a durable solution to your plight. Namibia shares the burden with you. We know exactly what it means to be a refugee because we have been refugees for many years too,” he said.