Namibia and Angola collaborate in repatriation of semi-nomadic people.

Niël Terblanché

The governments of Namibia and Angola have successfully facilitated the return of 73 Angolan minor children and their mothers to their homeland.

The repatriation process started on Tuesday with the transportation of the displaced people to the Santa Clara Border Post, which is viewed as a display of international cooperation and marked the beginning of their secure journey back to Angola.

Ettienne Maritz, the executive director of Namibia’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety, and Security, said officials from the ministry played a pivotal role in this operation, ensuring the safety and well-being of the affected individuals.

“The children and their mothers, who had been temporarily housed at the Ondangwa National Youth Service Centre, were under the care of the Namibian government due to their vulnerable situation,” he said.

According to Maritz, these women and children were found in various towns across Namibia, engaging in the sale of curios carved from and other trinkets to tourists and locals under distressing circumstances.

“The initial phase of their return involved their transportation to Oshikango, from where the Angolan authorities took over, ensuring their safe passage back to their respective communities in Angola,” he said.

According to Maritz, the effort by the ministry and authorities from Angola stresses the importance of international collaboration in addressing cross-border issues and protecting vulnerable populations.

“The Namibian government is dedicated and committed to upholding the rights and welfare of all individuals in Namibia, including migrant children and their families,” Maritz said.

He added that the collaborative effort with the Angolan authorities highlights the significance of joint actions in addressing cross-border challenges and ensuring the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations.”

Maritz, on behalf of the Namibian government, expressed gratitude to the Angolan authorities for their cooperation and dedication to reintegrating the children and their mothers back into their communities.

He said the initiative reflects a shared commitment to safeguarding the rights and welfare of all children, as enshrined in international and national laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Child Care and Protection Act, and the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act.

Maritz urged the public to report any suspected cases of human trafficking or child exploitation to the relevant authorities. This call to action aims to protect children’s rights and ensure their safety.

He added that Namibia’s proactive stance and collaborative approach with Angola serve as a model for international cooperation in addressing humanitarian issues, ensuring that the rights and welfare of all individuals, particularly vulnerable children, are protected and upheld.

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