CoRMSA seeks AU backing on deadline

JOHANNESBURG - The Consortium of Refugees and Migrants of South Africa (CoRMSA), has asked the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) to help pressure the South African government to extend the deadline given to Zimbabweans to legalise their stay in the country.

CoRMSA said in a statement that it made the appeal during the 48th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) held in Banjul , Gambia last week.

It was the first time CoRMSA, a registered non-profit organisation tasked with promoting and protecting refugee and migrant rights, attended the event. ACHPR is charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights throughout the African Continent.

CoRMSA used this forum to call on the South African government to extend the Zimbabwe documentation process beyond the 31st December deadline by ensuring that it featured both in the SADC resolution and in the resolution from the Working Group on Refugees in the NGO Forum, the organisation said in a statement last week.

The civil society group said it also delivered a statement on behalf of Lawyers for Human Rights to the ACHPR session and that it representatives also had the opportunity to engage the South African governments representative who promised to forward the concerns of LHR to the relevant government departments.

CoRMSA also individually engaged a number of Commissioners during the Session and its application for observer status to the ACHPR was formally accepted by the Commission. This will allow CoRMSA, in its own right, to address the Commission and the thematic Special Rapporteurs during future sessions. Pretoria has said it will beginning next January resume deporting Zimbabweans immigrants who did not have permits to stay in South Africa.

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