Court blocks Caprivi refugees deportation, orders detainees' release

Caprivians protesting at the SADC HQ PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Caprivians protesting at the SADC HQ PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

The Botswana government has been interdicted from deporting Caprivian refugees to their native land.

Lobatse High Court judge, Godfrey Nthomiwa today ordered that the government should not deport 709 refugees who refused to sign for voluntary repatriation. 

He ordered that pending a review application to be lodged by the refugees no one should deport the refugees to Namibia/Caprivi strip. 

“The respondents or anyone purporting to act on their behalf are hereby interdicted from deporting the applicants,” he said. 

The deadline for the repatriation was on July 11, 2018 of which those who did not sign to be repatriated were threatened with deportation as per the Immigration Act. 

The judge also ordered that the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs released refugees detained at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrant and transport them back to Dukwi refugees’ camp. 

The refugees among them Felix Kakula, who led another court case in 2015, were detained at SADC offices when they  sought audience in relation to the repatriation process. 

Furthermore, the judge said the refugees should not be repatriated until their reasons for fleeing no longer exist.

Editor's Comment
Transparency Key In COVID-19 Fight

When the pandemic reached Botswana’s shores last year March, a nation united in the quest to defeat an invisible enemy. It is a moment never witnessed in recent memory, with the catastrophes of the world war and the 1918 Spanish influenza being the only other comparisons in living memory. Botswana, like the rest of the world, had to readjust its priorities and channel most, if not all, of its energies towards fighting COVID-19. It has not been...

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