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Ministry of Defence Justice and Security(MDJS)
RESPONSE TO A QUESTIONAIRE
10/03/14
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONNAIRE ON REFUGEES

 

RESPONSE TO QUESTIONNAIRE FROM SUNDAY STANDARD ON REFUGEES

 

How is your Ministry going to address the complaint raised by the refugees who have decided to “camp” at the United Nation’s Office?

 

First and foremost the three (3) gentlemen whom we are informed have camped in the UNHCR offices are known to be from Uganda, and they are Messers: -

(a) Peter Muganga

(b) Timothy Yamin

(c) Musa Mahammed Isabirye

 

RESPONSE

Mr Peter Muganga is not a refugee, but an illegal immigrant. When he came to Botswana and applied for asylum, he could not be granted asylum as he was not recommended for asylum three (3) times by the Refugee Advisory Committee. The UNHCR thereafter made its own independent assessment, whereupon they also agreed that the reasons advanced by Mr Muganga for fleeing Uganda were not credible and were full of inconsistencies. In that case he could not be meet the criteria for being granted asylum or resettled outside Botswana. This makes him an illegal immigrant. He is a clear candidate for deportation under the Immigration Act, and processes are in place to do so. He is aware of this, hence his misdirected anger, attitude and behaviour.

Mr. Timothy Yamin was granted asylum in 2000, and subsequently married a Motswana woman which he wanted to use to demand Botswana citizenship. He was advised that despite his marriage to a Botswana citizen, he has to satisfy the requirements of the Citizenship Act, which unfortunately he has not been able to meet. He has not taken kindly to this, hence wild onslaught against Botswana Government. As he has failed local citizenship requirements he then 2

sought to apply for resettlement, which makes his case untenable for his resettlement.

Musa Mohammed Isabirye was granted asylum in 1998. Since his arrival in the country he has by attitude, behaviour and verbal expressions refused to comply with the Refugees (Recognition and Control) Act (CAP 25:01). He has also outrightly defied the existing, refugee management policies, guidelines and systems agreed to between Botswana and the UNHCR. By so refusing to comply with these provisions like all other refugees, and wanting to be treated as if he was above the law and guidelines in place, which cannot be allowed, will only make himself liable for consequences arising out of the needful processes to be effected. Clearly, his disparaging of the Botswana Government and the UNHCR will not distract any authority from the needful.

 

The complaints raised by the refugees are reported to have been on the table of your office for quite some time now and no action is being taken by your office, please share with us why this is the case?

RESPONSE

The channels of communication for dealing with refugees’ complaints and grievances, the first instance is

through the Camp Commandant and the UNHCR Protection Officer, both whom are resident in the Camp. Any resolved issues at this level are escalated to Refugee Joint Management Committee which comprises the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security and the UNHCR senior staff, where ordinarily all pertinent issues should be resolved.

The issues raised by the three disgruntled gentlemen lack truth and credibility and resonates with what we believe to be an intention to coerce the Botswana Government and the UNHCR pursue their unrealistic demands for resettlement in the developed countries. It has 3

to be stated that no country has ever expressed any interest in any of the three gentlemen.

This Ministry has to state that regular inspections within the Dukwi Refugee Camp have found all claims made by the three gentlemen to be unfounded and devout of any truth, except being malicious and aimed at causing discomfort to the law abiding refugees who have come to Botswana with credible submissions for asylum seeking. Notably, they have failed to rally anybody behind them.

Why can’t your office make some recommendations to the countries that the refugees have applied for asylum so that they resettle/relocate to those countries?

RESPONSE

Resettlement, which is one of the long term solutions to refugee problem, remains an option to both the Botswana Government and the UNHCR. However for any asylum seeker to be resettled they have to meet the refugee assessment criteria first; have model behaviour; positive attitude and should pose no security risk to the host country the potential resettlement country. In this context, before consideration of any resettlement cases, the potential host country comes to Botswana to make its own security assessment of each applicant, irrespective of one’s country of origin, age, sex and level of education. No country has shown interest in any of the three gentlemen.

The Botswana Government position is that repatriation to country of origin remains a sustainable and long term solution to refugee problem. In pursuit of this we have are working around the clock with the UNHCR and a number of concerned countries for the cessation clause and ultimate repatriation of concerned citizens to their country of origin. 4

We understand that Miss Lynn Ngugi, Chief of Mission has been recalled, please confirm or deny, and please explain why she is not in the office.

RESPONSE

This matter could best be responded to by the UNHCR country or Regional Office.

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