To: Mr Mathonsi, Home Affairs
Stop the attack on refugee rights
Imagine being forced to flee from your home because of war, rape or persecution. You make a long and dangerous journey seeking refuge. You arrive in South Africa, a country that prides itself on human rights for all, only to discover the South African government is also considering stripping you of your rights.
The Refugees Amendment Bill could put refugees in an impossible situation. If adopted in its current form, the Bill will likely:
-Force refugees to travel to 1 of 3 Refugee Reception Offices and apply for refugee status within 5 days of entering the country or face deportation;
-Put severe limitations on refugees' right to work, meaning refugees will struggle to survive and support their families;
- Make refugees who were journalists, activists or who identify as a member of the LGBTQI community, to return to their home country and face unjust criminal charges where they may face torture and imprisonment without a fair trial; and
-Risk losing their refugee status if they return to their home country to, for example, attend a funeral.
Why is this important?
These are just some of the regressive proposals in the Refugees Amendment Bill. We only have until this Friday to make public submissions to tell Home Affairs to scrap the aspects of the Bill that deny refugees' basic human rights. Advocacy groups such as Lawyers for Human Rights have already pointed out that the Refugees Amendment Bill is at odds with our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international conventions.
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How it will be delivered
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