The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and the office works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, international and non-governmental organizations.
What we do
UNHCR Namibia was established shortly after independence, at the request of the Government, to provide protection, humanitarian assistance and finding durable solutions for refugees and asylum seekers in Namibia. In accordance with the Namibia Refugee (Recognition and Control) Act of 1999, refugees and asylum seekers are provided a designated area as residence which is called the Osire Refugee settlement. Osire Refugee Settlement is situated 110 km south-east of Otjiwarongo and 250 km north-east of the capital city, Windhoek. The Osire refugee settlement was established in 1992 with a small refugee population of less than 2,000 at the time.
While UNHCR's primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, our ultimate goal is to help find durable solutions that will allow them to rebuild their lives in dignity and peace. There are three solutions open to refugees where UNHCR can help: voluntary repatriation; local integration; or resettlement to a third country in situations where it is impossible for a person to go back home or remain in the host country.Voluntary Repatriation: UNHCR Namibia continued to advocate for voluntary return in 2013/14. Following the cessation clause for Angolan refugees in June 2012, UNHCR with the support of the MHAI assisted 29 former Angolan refugees, among whom students, to repatriate to Angola by June 2013. In this regard, information sessions were conducted. Angolans who repatriated received a financial grant, food package and transport allowance.UNHCR Namibia also facilitated the reception and transportation of 28 Namibian returnees from Botswana. All returnees were from the Caprivi region in the north of Namibia. They were assisted by the Namibian Red Crescent, provided with transportation to their final destination in the region and benefited of cash grant.Resettlement: The Namibia operation is successfully increasing efforts to foster resettlement opportunities for long stayer refugees for whom there are no prospects of voluntary repatriation or local integration in the country of asylum. In 2013, 319 refugees were submitted for resettlement, of which 308 persons were from the DRC. The size of the population in need of resettlement was estimated to be 500 refugees, among which UNHCR prioritized the most vulnerable cases. Refugees who survived violence and torture, women at risk, refugees with lack of foreseeable durable solutions,
refugees with medical needs that could not be met in Namibia were submitted for resettlement. At the end of 2013, 159 persons departed for resettlement from Namibia out of which 140 were from DRC and 19 from Burundi. This included cases that were identified and submitted in 2012. The majority of the cases were submitted to the United States, Canada and Denmark. Local Integration: In June 2013, the Cabinet agreed to locally integrate 2,400 former Angolan refugees (1,742 Angolan former refugees were already profiled for local integration in 2012). In this respect, UNHCR secured funds for the issuance of permanent residence permits for 750 individuals. However the administrative arrangements were still to be implemented at the end of the year. According to the statistics provided by the MHAI, some 154 former Angolan refugees married to Namibians opted to be integrated in Rundu.
In 2013 the office provided leadership in mainstreaming gender in the following ways:•A participatory assessment was undertaken in February 2013, were views of women, men, girls and boys of concern to UNHCR were heard and incorporated in the programming planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation process. As a result of the participatory assessment, four plans of actions were formulated on the following themes: Self- Reliance and Livelihoods, SGBV, Protection and Education.•The office further endeavoured to ensure that consultative meetings through community mobilization and sensitization campaigns were conducted with the AGDM lens. Among others this included meetings with girls, boys, women and men of concerns on Sexual Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and other sectoral objectives. Moreover targeted discussions and programmes with persons with disabilities, the elderly, religious leaders, community leaders and other specific groupings took place.•In partnership with the refugee community, the office continued its support to the group of Male Gender Peer Educators in the community.Protection and assistance In close coordination with the Government of Namibia, UNHCR’s key areas of operation are as follows:i) Protection (registration, refugee status determination, documentation, durable solutions),ii) Provision of food and non-food items,iii) Provision of educationiv) Provision of primary health care services, HIV/AIDS, SRH and Nutrition v) Provision of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion vi) Provision of community development servicesvii) Provision of self-reliance and livelihood activitiesviii) Prevention of sexual exploitation and abuseix) Prevention of and response to Sexual and Gender Based Violencex) Promotion of women empowerment and gender equalityxi) Partnership and coordination with key stakeholders
UNHCR in partnership with the Ministry of Education ensures provision of education to refugee children in Osire - Osire Secondary School learners concentrating on an assignment given. UNHCR/ L.Kandjii.
Women in the Osire Refugee Settlement Commemorating the International Women’s Day with songs and dance - the day is commemorated yearly on the 8th of March. Promotion of gender equality and women empowerment are key programming areas.