Botswana deports 132 Zimbabweans

Zimbabwean refugees leaving Dukwi Camp ...

One hundred and thirty-two Zimbabweans who went to Botswana seeking refugees status have been voluntarily repatriated from Dukwi Refugee camp and upon arrival at Plumtree each returnee was given national identification documents, a settling allowance and food rations by the Government and United Nations.

The documents, according to State media,  given to the returnees included birth certificates and national identification cards for those without, a settling allowance of US$300 cash to every returnee above 12 years of age, $1 000 each as food packages and three months’ medical supplies to those under treatment.

The returnees were repatriated voluntarily between December 9 to 14, 2019 through a tripartite partnership exercise involving the Governments of Zimbabwe and Botswana as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Another group of refugees is expected in January 2020.

In a statement yesterday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade acting spokesperson Mr Joel Muzuwa said the exercise was an outcome of the assessment of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe by the UNHCR.

He said the conclusion of the assessment was that the Zimbabwean nationals at Dukwi Refugee camp no longer needed extended international protection in view of the prevailing political stability in the country.

“The Government of Zimbabwe would like to express its appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Botswana and UNHCR for facilitating the return of the Zimbabwean nationals. The repatriation process proceeded smoothly without any challenges.

“Though 135 returnees had registered for voluntary repatriation, a woman who had just given birth could not receive the required medical clearance to join the group. The woman and her three children will join the groups that will be repatriated in January 2020. 

“On arrival at the Plumtree Reception Centre, the UNHCR extended to the retunes settling allowance of US$300 cash to every returnee above 12 years of age and US$100 to all returnees below 12 years of age, three months of food rations to families of all returnees, three months’ medical supplies to those under treatment and medical certificates to all those who were on medical programmes,” he said.