War veterans petition Ban Ki-moon
Windhoek – Liberation struggle veterans calling themselves Namibian refugees have petitioned the United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon to provide them with a report concerning the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement process during and after the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435.
They also want Ban to provide them with the current status of Namibian refugees.
The group further want Ban to provide them with comprehensive information including UN certified detailed original reports and budgetary commitments, as well as the demographics concerning the implementation of their repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement.
In Windhoek the group handed a petition yesterday to UN Resident Coordinator Anita Kiki Gbeho, who will forward it to the UN secretary general.
After receiving the petition, Gbeho assured them she would send it to Ban.
Group chairperson Ueshitile Peyolo Shekupe said they are dissatisfied with the way and the manner the “triple R” has been implemented during and after implementation of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 435 which led to Namibia’s independence in 1990.
Shekupe said after its implementation they were left to fend for themselves, and are experiencing insurmountable recurrent humanitarian, socio-economic and socio-political problems and as such the manifestation of all shortcomings has resulted in them writing the urgent petition to him in search of an answer as a durable solution to their plight.
The group directed the petition to Ban following a response from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in South African, after they submitted their first petition to the UN office in Windhoek.
Shekupe added that the letter from South Africa is not stamped and bears no signature, “which does not show any respect” to their request.
“The answer we received was not satisfactory and they did not give us the report. We are fighting to get the report as it will give us direction. Without it we can’t say anything,” remarked Shekupe.
He explained the reason they are writing to Ban is because they thought they would deal with the matter locally but saw they can’t make it and this is the reason they took another step to go international.
A response from the UNHCR regional office for Southern Africa stated that with respect to the voluntary return of war veterans, UNHCR receives funds from donors and together with partners such as the International Office of Migration (IOM) and governments of the countries of asylum and origin, agrees on a formal mechanism to return refugees home.
“In some cases UNHCR may also get limited funds from donors for start-up kits to provide to refugees upon return home which may entail farming tools, non-food items, seeds, etc.”
The letter says UNHCR does not have a component known as rehabilitation within its refugee durable solutions mechanism. Nevertheless, in some return operations development partners and the state may agree with UNHCR to assist with integration aspects.
“Our expectation of a refugee agency has been that upon return home, the government of the country of origin has the responsibility to rehabilitate its own people.”