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Botswana Government Declaration of Cessation of Refugee Stat...

The Government of Botswana has taken note of the fact that since the end of the civil war in Angola in April 2002, over 470,000 Angolan refugees have voluntarily and safely returned to and reintegrated in their country of origin.  Today, only some 130,000 Angolan refugees remain in exile, mainly in neighboring countries in Southern Africa.

Further to the above, 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 exile who were granted refugee status on account of the civil war in Angola and/or the war of independence that preceded it should now be able to reclaim the national protection of their country of origin.

Taking into further consideration the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Government of Botswana therefore hereby declares, pursuant to Article 1C(5) and (6) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (“1951 Convention”), Article I(4)(e) of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, and the Botswana’s Refugee (Control and Recognition) Act, that the refugee status of the Angolan refugees in Botswana who fled Angola as a result of the armed conflicts between 1961 and 2002 will cease as of 30 June 2012.

In the meantime, the Government of Botswana 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 and national refugee law and in accordance with the terms of the Comprehensive Durable Solutions Strategy for the Angolan Refugee Situation. In particular, the Government of Botswana will collaborate closely with the Government 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.

The situation of those individuals whose refugee status will have ceased as of 30 June 2012, but for whom an alternative legal status or solution has not been secured in accordance with the terms of the Comprehensive Strategy, will be addressed in accordance with national immigration and other applicable laws.

Notwithstanding this declaration, any asylum applications submitted by Angolan nationals still pending as of 30 June 2012 will be adjudicated in a fair and proper manner in keeping with applicable international and national refugee law principles law governing the determination of refugee status.


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