News24

SAHRC probing abuse of refugees

2012-06-07 16:43

Johannesburg - The department of home affairs must come up with urgent and meaningful measures to put an end to the ill treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, the SA Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.

The recommendations come after the SAHRC launched another investigation into reports of an alleged protest which was staged by refugees at the Lindela Repatriation Centre on Monday. It was reported that the refugees were protesting against an unlawful practice by the department which had allowed them to be held captive for longer periods. However, the department had denied allegations that there was a riot.

According to the Immigration Act, the department cannot detain refugees for more than 120 days.

SAHRC spokesperson Vincent Moaga said the commission has decided to launch an investigation to the allegations after the findings of a monitoring team the SAHRC have summoned to the facility on Tuesday.

"Our team was presented with contradictory statements after it had engaged in discussions with the manager of the facility and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"These findings are currently under examination," he said. Moaga confirmed that the commission was also investigating an earlier complaint relating to alleged appalling conditions and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers at the facility from a consortium of eight NGOs, who worked closely with refugees and asylum seekers.

"The rights of non-nationals are specifically protected in national law and in international human rights agreements. This group is particularly vulnerable and the state is obliged to take appropriate steps to ensure the basic rights this group are adequately protected.

"The history of reported abuses and ongoing complaints demands that the commission take the necessary steps to ensure that the rights of this group are not violated with impunity," said Moaga.

He added that these violations were of grave concern as it appeared to be becoming endemic and systemic.

Prior to the incident that occurred at the Lindela Centre on Monday, the commission raised concerns about reported physical assaults and attacks on migrants and asylum seekers at the Marabastad offices of the home affairs department in April this year.

These concerns and the commission's own recommendations in its 2009 report on the rights of non-nationals have been brought to the attention of the department again.

"It is extremely disconcerting that the department has not yet responded to the recommendations of the commission contained in the 2009 Report.

"The situation is exacerbated by the repeated occurrences of similar violations. There appears to be no adequate and tangible corrective measures being taken by the department to ameliorate the plight of migrants and asylum seekers," said Moaga.

Home affairs spokesperson Manusha Pillai and spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa were unavailable for comment.

Comments
  • Melhik - 2012-06-07 16:55

    It is Lindela, not Linda! Shocking you missed that!

  • WitWolf - 2012-06-07 16:55

    SAHRC is a joke on the end of a stick. Why want to probe and investigate these type of things but they also want to give ruthless killers and rapists the time of day. NO monster should have any human right when they destroy someones life or kill them. Barbarians should be given the death penalty.

  • Michael - 2012-06-07 17:08

    Oh please.They are just mkwirikwiri in the eyes of the officials...Racism is beyond control in these evil lands

  • busisiwe.kubeka1 - 2012-06-07 17:24

    Land n economy to the black pple n export whites from cape to cairo

      Dee - 2012-06-07 18:44

      lol!!! .... Do you think you would get a good price for me on the export market? (I of course believe me alone could pay off the e-Toll debt:))) And where do you plan to export me to? Antactica perhaps .... hmm... but even the penguins there have to live happily being black 'n white - so I guess I cannot take my 'brown' family with me?

      Jaycee Adams - 2012-06-07 20:40

      @ busisiwe u r a dumb b-+@ch

  • Thiza - 2012-06-07 17:25

    @Fannie as a former exile I think I need to highlight certain fallacies and lies perpertuated by African asylum seekers. The first lie is that all African countries were welcoming of South African refugees. Second most of those in South Africa have got short memories of their discrimination, insults and abuse. Malawi, DR Congo, Kenya, Somalia, Senegal never had any South African refugees whithin their respective borders and these are common people who are abusing the South African asylum system. West African countries especially Nigeria never had more than 5 000 South Africa refugees at any given time including Ethiopia, Ghana and Zimbabwe. Most countries that bare the brunt of hosting South African refugees and paid a dearest price for their presence are Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Angola. These are also countries that have never abused the asylum system and are less boostful and talkative about the role these countries played in liberating South Africa. Yet those who always remind us SOUTH AFRICA of the support AFRICA PROVIDED TO THE ANC, PAC, AZAPO, dont even have a clue. The annoying part is that African believes that they are entitled to be in South Africa and many have a belief that the support was an investment to settle by any means neccessary in South Africa and many belief that South Africa ows AFRICA

      msuthukazi.nkqwitha - 2012-06-07 19:30

      well said Thiza i wish all the Africans can see this especially those whose countries never helped South Africa. crime levels in mzantsi will continue to escalate as we have lots of people flocking in in this country others with good hearts others with evil.

      Annemarie White - 2013-06-08 08:36

      Thank you. We, the public at large, need this information, as we were not present. It is so very easy, now, to act the victim and play on the guilt feelings of others. I am grateful for this.

  • Thiza - 2012-06-07 17:32

    The proliferation of foreign informal traders has sparked a storm in Ghana forcing the government to issue a statement promising a clampdown. Between 2009 and 2010 the government closed downed several shops owned by Nigerians in the capital Accra President John Atta Mills 'office this week issued a strongly worded statement calling for a government taskforce to look into the matter. A storm has been brewing since last year after traders in the second city of Kumasi threatened to block foreigners from retail and informal businesses. Mills' government was accused of failing to protect local businesspeople by not enforcing investment laws. ?The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act (GIPC) prohibits foreigners from "selling anything in a market, petty trading, hawking or selling in kiosks." But these activities in cities like Accra and Kumasi are dominated by Nigerians and other West Africans. Between 2009 and 2010 the government closed downed several shops owned by Nigerians in the capital Accra and other cities after pressure from locals.

  • Thiza - 2012-06-07 17:36

    I am posting what in South Africa is classified as xenophobia but check what in other Africa countries are doing to protect their unemployed and vulnerable citizens Uganda has threatened to boot out foreigners involved in small scale business arguing that this market was meant for locals only.The East African nation claims that foreigners, particularly Somalis and Asians, moved to Uganda claiming they were large investors, yet they moved into "petty trade" depriving locals. This has seen several illegal immigrants going into hiding following the government's decision to arrest and deport them.??The Foreign nationals are reportedly avoiding being seen in public after an official from the Ministry of Trade, Levi Adra said Ugandan traders had complained that they were losing business to illegal immigrants.

      Dee - 2012-06-07 18:45

      Very interesting post. Thanks.

      Annemarie White - 2013-06-08 08:38

      Uganda is correct. Charity starts at home. Then, only when one's own is comfortable and content, does one look after others. Our situation here is dangerous.

  • jim.rita2 - 2012-06-07 19:10

    As a south african human, my country is the most bad country in africa that take out the foreiners like dogs. Let the people stay there not according to the time while the is still dark place in their country. Let us take foreiners as brothers and sisters please.

  • abrar.hussain.1293575 - 2012-11-03 18:30

    In my views, foreigners bring money into the country look at america and canada lots of foreigners working there and these countries economy is strong. Its upto SA govt and ppl of SA to take benefit from foreigners not to show them fingers. There is already crime in this country and u cnt blame foreigners. Most of foreigners earning honest living and working hard. SA ppl have so many opportunities being a SA citizen but still crying. How many SA ppl are employed by foreigners that u cnt imagine. Just wana say dnt abuse them.

      themba.thwala.775 - 2012-11-03 18:36

      You forgot to mention the drug haven that they have turned SA into, not to mention the filth that surburbs such as Hillbrow, Rossetenville, Yeoville, Sunnyside and many others have become. All thanks to foreigners

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