The major challenge children face on entering South Africa is securing documentation such as asylum permits to enable them regularise their stay and access basic needs such as education. LHR blamed this on the country’s slow response to asylum seekers’ needs.
“The first step at correcting this is fixing the broken system that deals with unaccompanied foreign minors to ensure that they receive documentation, and achieving universal birth registration for all children, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. Next, South Africa should establish a system to protect stateless persons that best suits our context and that can relieve the overburdened asylum system. Co-operation with migrants’ countries of origin is key to finding durable solutions and ensuring that citizens of other African nations are recognized as such,” Jessica George, LHR spokesperson said in a statement.
Home Affairs has pledged to look into reports that minors, as well as other asylum seekers, were being turned away. It added the Refugee Amendment Bill, which is anticipated to be signed into law soon, would address such issues.