UNHCR representative described Botswana as a "role model" in accepting refugees during the pandemic period when countries closed borders to curtail the spreading of the disease.
As has been the case over the years, Botswana will continue to show support for people forced into internal and external displacement due to violence, persecution, and war, said Ronald Shamukani, Justice Minister, on Monday in marking the World Refugee Day.
"Botswana continues to maintain an open-door policy in line with its international obligations while ensuring that internal security is maintained," said Shamukuni at the commemorations held at Dukwi Refugee Camp, situated some 580 km northwest of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.
Botswana is aware of the view raised by some interested parties that the southern African country has a high rejection rate of asylum applications, said Shamukuni, before assuring Botswana's humanitarian stakeholders that all asylum seekers are assessed by a dedicated and trained team.
Shamukuni expressed that Botswana is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the push and pull factors influencing the movements of people in order to find a long-lasting solution to the plight of the affected.
UNHCR representative in the southern Africa Preepa Law described Botswana as a "role model" in accepting refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic period when countries closed borders to curtail the sporadic spreading of the disease.
Law said Botswana demonstrated that people can be protected and public health be protected at the same time, as peoples' rights to have their asylum cases heard were not impeded in the process.
Dukwi Refugee Camp, the only refuge settlement in Botswana, is hosting over 800 refugees mainly from the eastern and central parts of Africa and the growing number of asylum seekers from the same areas particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.