Exploring durable solutions for Refugees in Swaziland

IMG-20170320-WA0017By Princess

The Kingdom of Swaziland as a state party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, hosts about 728 refugees and 385 asylum seekers. Some of the refugees have been in the country for more than a decade. Some have successfully integrated into local society yet some have difficulty in doing likewise.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to provide international protection to refugees, which includes seeking to find permanent or durable solutions to refugee problems. The UNHCR partners with the Swaziland Government and Caritas Swaziland to carry out this mandate to refugees in the country. One of the durable solutions is resettlement.Resettlement involves transfer of refugees from a country of asylum/refuge to a third country which has agreed to accept and admit them as refugees with permanent residence status. The UNHCR visited the country on a mission in March 2017 to conduct training on this particular durable solution. The training which took place at the Catholic Centre was conducted by Ilija Todorovic who is the Senior Regional Resettlement Officer, based at the UNHCR office in Pretoria, South Africa. The training targeted all stakeholders in the protection of refugees in Swaziland. This includes the members of the Political Asylum Committee of which Caritas Swaziland is a bona fide member. The participants were trained on how to assess and identify cases legible for resettlement; the resettlement criteria and the resettlement process, including combating fraud and corruption during the process.

The training empowered the Swazi team on protection of the rights of refugees, to be better positioned to facilitate that refugees in the country find durable solutions, as refugee situation must eventually come to an end.