The Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Fafa N'Konou, says refugees should not be deprived of services or jobs they need to live self-reliant lives.

N'Konou explained that no matter how long they stay in exile, refugees want to carry on with their lives.

She was speaking at the commemoration of World Refugee Day at Osire Refugee Settlement.

Some refugees fled their countries because of war in Ukraine, Syria, the DRC, and Sudan.

However, when the number of those seeking asylum increases, support for the population of refugees also decreases.

For instance, food rations and other basic needs that the refugees normally receive monthly from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are now only distributed every second month.

The Head of UNHCR, N'Konou says barriers refugees face need to be removed for them to be empowered to take greater command of their daily lives.

"Including refugees in the communities where they have found safety is the most effective way to enable them to rebuild their lives and contribute to local economies and the countries hosting them. Concretely, this means promoting refugees' rights to apply for jobs, enrol in schools, and access services such as housing and health care. It also means forging friendships and showing solidarity with newcomers in communities. We all benefit from human connection and a sense of belonging. For refugees far from home, feeling welcome brings hope."

There are more than 7,500 refugees in Osire, and Namibia is committed to receiving and protecting asylum seekers in accordance with the provisions of international law.

"I would like to state with regret that despite the material and support the government and the UNHCR are committing to asylum seekers, there are some deliberately flouting laws and policies governing them. All asylum seekers in the country are requested to obey and respect the laws governing them," said the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security, Josephine Nghimtina.

This year's World Refugee Day was commemorated under the theme "Hope Away From Home".




Eveline Paulus