Zambia and Namibia have signed a memorandum of understanding on refugee matters.
The signing ceremony took place in Livingstone and Zambia was represented by Home Affairs Minister of, Ngosa Simbyakula.
The particular importance of the meeting was to implement one of the resolutions passed at 17th Session of the Namibia/Zambia joint permanent commission on defence and security held in Swakopmund, Namibia in July 2013.
Dr Simbyakula said at the 17th Session, that the commission directed that the institutions dealing with refugee matters in the two countries should finalize the Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] on co-operation on refugee matters before the next session of the joint permanent commission.
He also said the continued cooperation between the two governments in various matters was an invaluable asset to both countries and their peoples.
Meawhile, Namibian Home Affairs Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, said that the MOU would help in identifying areas of cooperation in the Action Plan where it is emphasized inter alia on capacity building and training of officers dealing with refugees and asylum seekers on exchange bases.
Ms Ithana said the MoU meant that both parties agreed to information exchange on issues related to refugees that may impair the stability of each state and harmonize border management practices in the area of information technology.
The MoU will also help in harmonizing the procedure for deportation/removal of rejected asylum seekers and refugees in line with immigration laws of the parties.
Ms Ithana further thanked officials of the United Nations for Human Rights Commission [UNHCR] for the tireless effort they have done over the past three days which led to the development of an Action Plan to implement the Memorandum of Understanding.
She also said full implementation of the MOU would lead to the dreams and the realization of the theme ’Working towards a world without Refugees’ and urged officials in collaboration with the international stakeholders to diligently implement the provisions of the MOU.
Ms Ithana commended the Zambian government for providing protection to the Namibian refugees and care in various places in Zambia such as Nyango, Oshatotwa, Kaoma, UNIN and NIPA.