SA home affairs under fire

JOHANNESBURG - The Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) has slammed South Africas Department of Home Affairs for violating migrants rights.

Gina Snyman, spokesperson of the human rights organisation, which has in the past illegally detained asylum seekers and refugees, said this past weekend that this undermined South Africas commitment to upholding human rights.

Home Affairs insistence on defending illegal detentions with spurious legal arguments both violates the human rights of asylum seekers and wastes taxpayers money, Snyman told ***The Zimbabwean.

Home Affairs consistently flouts the law by detaining asylum seekers in contravention of the Refugees Act but the treatment of this family is one of the most abhorrent examples I have seen of Home Affairs utter contempt for the legal process. Home Affairs actions in this matter raise questions about governments commitment to human rights and respect for the rule of law, as well as its international obligations under the UN Convention on the Protection of Refugees.

Her comments follow the Johannesburg High Court last Wednesday ordering the immediate release of a family of eight asylum seekers who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan, after more than four months in detention and numerous attempts by Home Affairs to illegally return them to Afghanistan. The two parents, their five minor children, and the oldest daughters fianc, also a minor, were arrested separately at the OR Tambo Airport following attempts to join family members in France who were also refugees.

This is not the first time Home Affairs has been accused of such action. Zimbabweans, who constitute the highest number of immigrants in South Africa, have suffered similar detentions. The department has also been accused of sloth in the processing of asylum permits.

More than 3 million Zimbabweans have sought refuge in neighbouring South Africa following years of economic and political turmoil in their country.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *