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SAHRC launches urgent court application against the Department of Home Affairs

MEDIA RELEASE

03rd November 2012
ATTENTION: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission, alongside People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (“PASSOP”) and 39 detained foreign nationals have, through our attorneys from the Legal Resources Centre, launched an urgent court application against the Department of Home Affairs for continuing to violate the rights of immigrants at the Lindela Repatriation Centre by detaining them for longer than the prescribed 120 day period allowed in terms of the Immigration Act.

Efforts by the Commission to reason with the Department of Home Affairs through correspondence and meetings have been unsuccessful. It is also worth noting that the Commission has previously raised concerns about reported physical assaults and attacks on migrants and asylum seekers at the Marabastad offices of the Department of Home Affairs in April this year. These concerns and the Commission’s own recommendations in our 2009 Report on the rights of non-nationals have repeatedly been brought to the attention of the Department.

It is extremely disconcerting that the Department of Home Affairs has not yet responded to the recommendations of the Commission contained in the 2009 Report. The repeated recurrences of similar violations are further proof that the Department appears unwilling to take tangible corrective measures to ameliorate the plight of migrants and asylum seekers.

The Commission has now been alerted by our fellow applicants about the plans, by the Department of Home Affairs, to deport thirty-three of the thirty-nine applicants in the current court case before this matter will be heard on Tuesday 13 November 2012.  

We hereby call upon the Department of Home Affairs not to deport the applicants pending the outcome of our urgent court application.

The High Court application includes a request for an order that the continued detention of the immigrants longer than the prescribed 120 day period is unlawful.

The Commission would like to emphasize that the rights of non-nationals are specifically protected in the national law and in various international human rights agreements. The Commission, along with our fellow applicants, will continue to ensure that the rights of immigrants are protected and that the Department of Home Affairs takes urgent meaningful steps to end the perennial violations of the rights of foreign nationals as reported and contained in the Commission’s 2009 Report.

END


Issued by:

Isaac Mangena
Head: Communications
SA Human Rights Commission
071 884 8273

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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