SA Court victory for asylum seekers

BY SAVIOUS KWINIKA JOHANNESBURG - The South African government has been ordered by the Pretoria High Court to open immediately the closed Refugee Reception Offices in Johannesburg. In his ruling, Pretoria high court judge, Justice Preller, ordered the South Africa Minister of Home Affairs, No

zipho Nqcule, Home Affairs Director General for Refugees Busisiwe Mkhwebane-Tshele and United Nations Chairperson of the standing committee for refugees to comply with the court order.

The Somalia Refugee Forum filed court papers last year representing all asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria and Sudan, asking the court to nullify all standing laws denying asylum seekers the opportunity to acquire papers immediately.

The judge also ordered home affairs to employ 50 refugee reception officers in each of the refugee reception centres with a view to speeding up the issuing of papers to the asylum seekers.

The SA government had closed Rosettenville Refugee Reception centre in Johannesburg last year under unclear circumstances, a move widely viewed by human rights groups as aimed at denying asylum seekers a chance to stay in South Africa.

In Pretoria, department was processing, five asylum permits per day. This has now increased to 50.

The Zimbabwe Support Action Group spokesperson, Rodgers Mudarikwa, said justice had prevailed at last. – CAJ News

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11-january-2006

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