20 June 2019

South Africa: The Plight of Asylum Seekers in SA - No Documentation, No Rights

analysis

Thursday June 20 was World Refugee Day, but it brought no joy to the 190,000 asylum seekers in South Africa who have been living in limbo for up to 19 years.

People move from their home countries for many reasons; some by choice in hopes of new opportunities, others are forced to abandon their lives and loved ones because they are fleeing war and conflict or persecution simply because of who they are or what they do.

South Africa has a strong legal and human rights framework for refugees and asylum seekers' rights. However, the failed asylum management process has been well documented over the years and shows that the implementation of existing laws and policies is starkly lacking.

For asylum seekers who have made the long journey to South Africa, fleeing persecution, war and conflict, in search of peace and stability, their arduous journey doesn't end on arrival in the country.

Amnesty International South Africa embarked on research in 2018 to gather data on the experiences of asylum seekers attempting to exercise their rights to get and remain documented in South Africa. What we found is an asylum management system that is failing rights-holders.

The refugee status determination process...

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