Refugees returning home. Photo taken from Jornal de Angola, June 30, 2012 edition.

For the approximately 600,000 Angolans who fled to neighboring countries during the years of war, June 30th was the last day for them to repatriate back to Angola in an organized operation. Those who remain in exile have now lost their refugee status according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Since peace in 2002, UNHCR has been assisting the government to help returning Angolans; they also work with asylum seekers and refugees who over the years have found their way into Angola.  Approximately 19,000 have been recorded so far but that figure is expected to double by the time the  Migration and Foreigners Services (SME) and UNHCR finish their registration program. The majority of refugees inside Angola are Congolese including some who have been here for more than 40 years. The Angola Field Group invites you to view the recently produced video “Life as a Refugee in Angola” which will be introduced by Zelmira Sinclair, the UNHCR Acting Representative, Thursday July 19 at 8:00PM at the Viking Club. Zelmira, who is on her second assignment to Angola, is a Senior Protection Officer and will give a brief update on the repatriation program and the UN’s work with refugees inside Angola. She is an Attorney at Law, and holds a Master of Laws degree in Public International Law from the Lund University in Sweden. The video was produced by Italian Palestinian film maker Kami Farez. For more background details see:  

In close cooperation with the Viking Club, this event is offered free of charge. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are sold at the bar, coupons must be purchased. The Viking Bar opens at 7:30 PM. If you would like to have a map showing the location of the Viking Club, click here. The Viking Club is on the main floor of the former Swedish Building at Rua Marien N”Guabi, No 118 in Maianga, across the street from the new Panela de Barra restaurant.