Refugees educated and empowered

South Africa’s Lawyers for Human Rights is carrying out workshops to educate asylum seekers here about South African laws.

The Law and Me workshops are held in Braamfontein, west of the city, every Wednesday.

“The workshops help asylum seekers and refugees engage with the laws of South Africa. Everything we do, from working and driving to having relationships and raising children is shaped by South African laws. Understanding the law helps us know what our rights are and how to enforce them,” said an LHR representative this week.

Among the legal issues discussed at the workshops are divorce and child custody, employee rights, criminal law and gender-based violence. The workshops are free and refreshments are provided.

Many refugees and asylum seekers living in South Africa have had their rights violated, even those who know where they stand with the law.

“I know I am entitled to annual leave and a minimum salary. However, I have had to accept what my employee pays me because jobs are difficult to come by these days. If I lose this one it will be difficult to get another one to fend for my family back home,” said a Zimbabwean asylum seeker in Johannesburg.

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