The British High Commissioner to Namibia, Charles Moore, says the leaked communication on Namibian asylum seekers in the United Kingdom contained inaccuracies and a lack of understanding of the country's asylum system.

Moore was speaking on the nbc's Good Morning Namibia show to put the situation of Namibian asylum seekers in context after the UK government rejected their applications.

"This is not a new case, as we have had Namibians over the years seek asylum in the UK for a variety of reasons. with figures going back to 2002. It may have been one or two then, but in the past year we have seen a huge increase in the number of Nambian asylum seekers."

High Commissioner Charles Moore says Namibians can legally travel to the UK, as they do not require a visa to enter that country, and then claim asylum at the borders upon arrival.

He says the UK Home Office then considers whether they are coming from a place of conflict or are being persecuted.

Moore goes on to say that Britain's stance on Namibians seeking asylum is no different than that of any other nationality seeking refuge and that they are all treated the same.

"Anyone turning up in the UK who seeks asylum, we allow in. There is a period during which we must understand why they are claiming asylum: their application is fully and comprehensively assessed, which takes quite some time due to the large number of asylum seekers; once their asylum is determined, they are free to leave or stay."

The British diplomat concurs with the Namibian Government's stance that Namibia is a safe and stable democratic country, and there is no state-sponsored persecution that citizens will want to flee from; hence, 91% of applications are rejected. 

He adds that those who resist deportation and are not willing to leave voluntarily will be subject to arrest and administrative removal.

Those without valid documents, he says, will be assisted by the Namibian High Commission in London to obtain such papers.

Moore notes that there are 1200 outstanding asylum applications from Namibians that are yet to be assessed.

He refutes claims that 250 Namibians have been sent back already, saying they have not started the repatriation process yet. 

Moore says in the past three years, 31 Namibians have been sent back home and that there are still 600 to be repatriated whose applications were declined, including some who have overstayed their visas.

He says this ongoing process is not unique to Namibians, as it also applies to citizens of other countries wanting asylum in the UK.

A Namibian Immigration Law student living in the UK, Menette Katjivirue, cited some reasons why Namibians claim asylum: homophobia, harmful cultural practices, and forced marriages.

She advises that those in the UK be given permission to access the Commonwealth grant to study instead.

Those already there, she says, can be educated and return educated, rather than tossing them back home without any skills.

Photo Credits
New Era Newspaper


Lajhia Hatutale