Over 141 000 people stateless, undocumented

Albert Kawana
. . . the police need N$4,5 billion to combat crimes

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security says a total of 141 048 individuals have been identified and registered as stateless and undocumented.

This was revealed by home affairs minister Albert Kawana in parliament this week while delivering his ministry’ budget statement.

The ministry is seeking the parliament’s approval of N$7,4 billion for the 2024/25 financial year.

N$390 million of this budget is earmarked for capital projects.

“This number is currently being validated against the National Population Registration System. A new law will be enacted to regularise the status of the affected individuals,” Kawana said.

He said Namibia has joined other United Nations member states on the ‘#I Belong To’ campaign, aimed at ending statelessness by 2024.

Namibia has commenced with the identification and registration of stateless and undocumented people, he said.

Kawana said the ministry, together with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), held tripartite meetings to promote the voluntary repatriation of Congolese asylum seekers and refugees in Namibia.

“These tripartite meetings resulted in the voluntary repatriation of 182 Congolese nationals in safety and dignity during the months of August and November 2023,” he said.

This year, the ministry budgeted an amount of N$13 million for the refugee management programme.

The programme provides protection and support to refugees and asylum seekers in Namibia.

This is done in terms of the Refugee Recognition and Control Act of 1999.

“In addition, there is an obligation placed upon Namibia by international conventions relating to the treatment and protection of refugees and displaced persons,” Kawana said.

The Namibian reported in March last year that Namibia had 141 000 stateless people.

The ministry at the time said it was drafting a bill to deal with the plight of 141 084 undocumented people in the country.

Ministry spokesperson Margaret Kalo at the time said the statuses of the stateless would be regularised in terms of a new law to be enacted.

Currently the country does not have a law that deals with stateless individuals.

“Namibia is deeply concerned about the problem of statelessness. Stateless people have no legal protection and they cannot access social grants, banking services, find work or traverse borders. All of this leads to poverty,” Kalo said last year.


Meanwhile, Kawana said in order to combat crime in the country, the ministry’s police department requires an amount of N4,5 billion.

“In a nutshell, the Combating of Crime Programme represents the main part of the core functions and activities of the Department of Police. Therefore, an amount of N$4,5 billion is requested for combating crime,” the minister said.

Kawana said out of this amount, N$245,4 million is earmarked for 36 capital projects countrywide.

He said under this programme, the police enhance cooperation with other stakeholders in the fight against crime, including government institutions, non-governmental and civic organisations, business entities, neighbouring and other countries, as well as regional and international organisations.


Considering that Namibia has a population of three million as per the recently released population statistics by the Namibia Statistics Agency, Kawana said 45 880 babies under a year were registered in the 2023/24 year, while 155 232 ID (identity ) cards were issued.

In August 2023, the Cabinet approved the introduction of contactless microchip ID documents, commonly known as electronic IDs or e-IDs.


Kawana revealed that a total of 2 729 cases were referred to the Namibian Police Forensic Science Institute during the last financial year.
Out of this number, only 1 630 were finalised, while the remaining 1 099 are pending.

“These cases were handled by the documents and digital forensics, chemistry, physics and genetics divisions,” the minister said.

“A total of 4 389 autopsies were referred to the Forensic Pathology Division and were successfully conducted,” Kawana said.

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