Refugee Amendment Bill receives majority vote in Parliament
15 Mar 2011
Minister Dlamini Zuma today Tuesday, 15 March 2011 introduced the department’s Refugee Amendment Bill in Parliament’s National Assembly where it received a majority endorsement by the House.
Speaking on conclusion of the vote Minister Dlamini Zuma, “It is pleasing that this Bill which seeks to streamline the application process for genuine asylum seekers has received the majority endorsement from Members of Parliament. It is expected that this Bill will now be further deliberated upon in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) before being ascended into law.”
“Indeed, South Africa has always been steadfastly committed to protecting the human rights of its people and especially those who are vulnerable. We have therefore acceded to many international conventions which seek to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers while having our own laws, namely the Refugees Act of 1998.”
“The current legislation is being amended because we do not want those who are genuinely seeking asylum to be subjected to long protracted processes, although we do want to be firm and strict with those who abuse the asylum system knowing very well that they are not refugees.”
“The amendments being proposed will therefore establish committees that adjudicate applications from asylum seekers. This is currently done by junior officials sometimes working alone. In addition, applicants whose applications are found to be without merit although they conform to the internationally recognised reasons for the granting of asylum will be able to appeal the decision of the committee. Applications that do not fall within the parameters of internationally recognised reasons for asylum will be reviewed by the Director-General. Should the Director-General concur with the finding of the committee, the applicant will be deported to his or her country of origin.”
“The Amendments also provide for the registration of a child born of an asylum seeker in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act provided the birth certificate is submitted at any Refugee Reception Office in order to have the said child included as a dependent of such asylum seeker or refuge while ensuring that refugee status granted erroneously by the Status Determination Committee “in good faith” or “in bad faith” may be withdrawn.”
“It is the firm conviction of the department that this Bill, once ascended into law, will ensure South Africa upholds its commitment to human rights, as well as its international obligations, while protecting the dignity of all those who seek refuge and safety upon our shores,” concluded Minister Dlamini Zuma.
Cell: 082 389 3587
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
15 Mar 2011
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