UNHCR staff member and Angolan refugees on board ZAF aircraft return home after many years in exile.(March 1, 2012 from Mongu Airport)

By Mr.Maxwell Nkole( Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs)

1. Since the end of the civil war in Angola in April 2002, over 180,000 Angolan refugees have voluntarily and safely returned to and reintegrated in their country of origin. Today, only some 23,000 Angolan refugees remain registered in Zambia.

2. In light of the fundamental changes that have taken place in Angola since the end of the civil war, it is considered that those Angolan refugees remaining in Zambia who were granted refugee status on account of the civil war in Angola and the war of independence that preceded it should now be able to reclaim the national protection of their country of origin. Taking into consideration the announcement and subsequent recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Government of the Republic of Zambia hereby declares, pursuant to Article 1C(5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, Article I(4)(e) of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (conventions to which Zambia is party), that the refugee status of Angolan refugees in Zambia who fled Angola as a result of the armed conflicts between 1961 and 2002 will cease as of 30th June 2012.

3. The Government of the Republic of Zambia will work closely with UNHCR to give effect to the cessation of refugee status for Angolan refugees in keeping with the relevant principles and procedures of international refugee law. In this regard, the Government of the Republic of Zambia will collaborate closely with the Executive of the Republic of Angola, UNHCR and other relevant partners to proactively pursue all feasible measures to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of affected Angolan refugees to their home country in safety and dignity prior to the effective date of cessation of refugee status.

4. The status of Angolan refugees who would not have availed themselves for repatriation and continue to live in Zambia after 30th June, 2012, will be regulated under the immigration law.

Young mother with a child returning home for a new life with UNHCR support.(March 1, 2012 from Mongu Airport)

 

FAQ

1. What is cessation?

Refugee status is not permanent. It is intended to protect people who risk harm in their home country. When conditions in the home country improve fundamentally, refugee status comes to an end. This is called cessation.

The cessation clauses are part of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 OAU Convention on Refugees and are recognized and accepted by States that are a party to these Conventions, including Angola and Zambia.

2. When does cessation come into effect for Angolan refugees?

Cessation of refugee status for Angolans will come into effect on 30 June 2012.

3. Why is cessation being invoked for Angolan refugees?

Angolans were generally granted refugee status for reasons tied to the war of independence in Angola, from 1961 to 1975, and the Angolan civil war, from 1975 to 2002. They fled abroad because they feared harm from the armed conflicts that were taking place.

Cessation is being invoked because the situation in Angola has fundamentally changed. Peace and stability have come back to Angola, with most Angolan refugees already having returned home.

4. What exactly does cessation mean for Angolan refugees?

On 1 July 2012, you will not be a refugee anymore. Your legal status and right to remain as a refugee in Zambia will come to an end.

5. When do I have to decide about return?

Angolan refugees in Mayukwayukwa and Meheba have until 30 April 2012 to register for repatriation. UNHCR and the governments of Zambia and Angola will provide return assistance to those who register before this date and leave by 30 June 2012. If you wait longer, you may not receive any return assistance and your refugee status will end on 30 June 2012.

Angolan refugees boarding ZAF aircraft.(March 1, 2012 from Mongu Airport)

UNHCR and the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees are currently registering individuals for repatriation through the existing registration mechanisms.

Kindly note that this registration has been going on since January 2012.

Spontaneously settled refugees are advised to immediately contact the nearest Immigration Office to register for voluntary repatriation and receive the Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF), before 30 June 2012. Please bring all documents proving your and your family members’ identity and status as refugees in Zambia.

6. What will happen if I choose to repatriate?

UNHCR is working with the authorities in Zambia and Angola on return arrangements. Upon arrival in Angola, you will receive national documentation and a return package to facilitate your reintegration.

7. What will happen if I do not register for Voluntary Repatriation?

Should you not have repatriated by 30 June 2012, your status will be regulated under the immigration law of Zambia.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. If these people are not in trouble, then they should go home and help their homeland improve…this community has given the country little troubles over the years, it has been a humbling experience to all Zambians to have offered a home to our brothers and sisters…good luck and always remember, you will always be Chipolopolo!

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  2. I thought the civil war was over in Angola, what are they still doing here?? Take them back Angola is stable now if they can sign a multi million dollar pipe line with Zambia, why have Angolan refugees here

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  3. I wish I had some Angolan, I could have claimed to be a citizen of one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and potentially one of the richest countries in world. We hope you had a good stay in Zambia and I would like to wish all Angolan refugees the very best as the settle in their home country.

    Bravo Zambia, Bravo Angola and Bravo UNHCR.

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  4. Let those who want to stay in Zambia do so and be offered Zambian citizenship especially if they were born in Zambia or have stayed for a long time.We are all africans after all

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  5. It is good to see we HAVE A PERM SEC THAT KNOWS HIS JOB, he has addressed some false reporting which was published in this media to the effect that the refugees would be “P.I. d”. He has rightly put this falsehood to rest – THEY WOULD BE CONSIDERED THROUGH THE NORMAL IMMIGRATION CHANNELS. If only our Press could learn to pursue stories & investigate their factual content, then we could consider ourselves to be heading in the right direction. A bit of night-school wouldn’t harm our reporters I think!!

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    • Mwe ba Taliban it is very easy to say what you have posted,but remember some of these people came to zambia in 1964 when they were may be 10 years,now you can imagine,sending them home to start new life its not an easy thing.

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  6. Those that have businesses or skills should be offered residency since they can contribute to the country and will not be a cost. Our population is still small and these people can integrate

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  7. The article does not explain what if one was born here and wants to be a zambian citizen how does he/she go about it before end of June instead of being considered as an illegal immigrant?

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    • They have said normal immigration rules will apply. You may need to read those rules. Otherwise, since UNHCR is involved, everything is being done very well.

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  8. #11 thats what i thought also after reading may be some wants to stay they have there for along time.we will miss you am really sad you are leaving.

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  9. #11 Citizen and #12 Little mama

    Dont worry, they have said normal immigration rules will apply, just like any country have rules to facilitate settling down. So we should expect their applications to remain in Zambia to be ably facilitated – rules of naturalisation, residence, permanent residence, citizenship, right by birth or right by marriage etc etc etc.

    Bravo to Zambia for our hospitality. Bravo to Angolan refugees for being peaceful guests.

    We wish our Angolan brothers and sisters a peaceful and successful future. They deserve it. May God bless Zambia for this hospitality. And may God bless Angola with peae and good neighbouriness..

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  10. Iwe CBU Lumpen, its not “Fright”. Its “Flight” waunfwa ayi. Baiche imwe ichisungu nomba namuchiposa panse. Akulembeni fye muchibemba. Ngawacheba ati “The flayiti atendanti izi biyutifu”. That was goin to be alright not a mixture of languages.

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  11. Come back home brothers and sisters we are waiting for you.There is milk and honey here.

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  12. To Kamwendo: if you read in lines there will be “P.I” the current Immigration Act has loopholes; unless if it could a statutory instrument to that effect: this is an unprecedent excise !

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