Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2016, 07:47 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees Mid-Year Country Report 2001 - Namibia

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 August 2001
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees Mid-Year Country Report 2001 - Namibia , 1 August 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3c56c1168.html [accessed 26 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Background

Namibia has achieved relative stability in the past ten years. The civil war in neighboring Angola, however, spilled into northern Namibia in 2000, creating security problems for local residents as well as for Angolan refugees living in northern Namibia. Some 1,000 Namibians fled to neighboring Botswana last year to escape the violence along their country's border with Angola.

Namibia hosted approximately 20,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the beginning of 2001, primarily from Angola.

Recent Political/Military/Human Rights Developments

Northern Namibia continued to suffer insecurity because of the civil war in Angola during the first half of 2001. Hundreds of new Angolan refugees fled into Namibia. Namibian officials continued to deploy government troops to the border region and into Angola to punish Angolan rebels for their attacks into northern Namibia.

New Uprooted Populations

There were no large populations of newly uprooted Namibians during the first six months of 2001.

Namibian officials held talks with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in May to prepare for the possible voluntary repatriation of hundreds of Namibian refugees who fled the country for political reasons in 1998.

Several waves of hundreds of new Angolan refugees arrived in Namibia during the first half of the year to escape attacks by Angolan rebels. About 500 new refugees arrived in Namibia in June. Many of the new Angolan arrivals refused to move to a designated refugee camp far from the border because they preferred to remain in northern Namibia in order to return home quickly when conditions permit.

In February, the Namibian government considered moving the nearly 20,000 refugees at Osire camp in central Namibia to a new camp in the northeast. The plan raised concern, however, that transferring the refugee population would disturb the new area's hunter-gatherer culture and overburden the region's resources.

Humanitarian Conditions

During the first half of 2001, nearly all of the 20,000 refugees in Namibia continued to reside at Osire camp near the capital, Windhoek. Budget constraints and food shortages forced a temporary 20 percent reduction in the refugees' food ration. The governments of Sweden and the United States provided much-needed aid in May to restore full rations to the refugee population through the end of the year. Poor rainfall caused weak local crop yields, compounding the refugees' food problems. Aid workers expressed concern about the level of teenage pregnancies in Osire camp.

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