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Media Release: South Africa Human Rights Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees sign agreement to formalise partnership in South Africa

Attention: Editors and Reporters
06 October 2021

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the South Africa Human Rights Commission (the Commission or the SAHRC) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at formalising partnership between the two entities in the promotion and protection of the human rights of asylum-seekers, refugees, internally displaced people and stateless persons in South Africa.

The agreement was signed at a virtual ceremony in Johannesburg and Pretoria led by Advocate Bongani Majola the Chairperson of the SAHRC and the UNHCR Representative to South Africa, Mr. Leonard Zulu,
The MoU provides the co-operation framework for the two organizations to join hands on advocacy and human rights protection activities.
“Human rights are at the centre of the protection regime for persons forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and violence. The congruence of our respective mandates is obvious. A person seeking international protection does so when he or she is no longer able to have national protection of their countries of origin, “said Leonard Zulu.

“In order to protect this individual, it follows naturally, that the person concerned must enjoy basic and fundamental human rights in the host country. Sadly, this very often does not occur automatically. It then becomes incumbent on institutions such as ours to advocate on their behalf.” he added.

The MoU enables information sharing, protection interventions on individual cases, consultations, knowledge exchange, as well as cooperation on projects which promote human rights of persons of concern to UNHCR and the SAHRC. Amongst the joint engagements, the SAHRC and UNHCR will advocate progressive policies, legislation, processes and practices for the protection and promotion of human rights. The two organizations will also advocate for the inclusion of persons of concern to UNHCR in national protection plans of the Republic of South Africa. Through the MoU, SAHRC and UNHCR, will take part in initiatives which promote social cohesion and peaceful co-existence between foreigners and South African nationals. In addition, research projects will be conducted to further the advancement of human rights of all persons of concern.

The MoU will also enable the two organizations to promote the implementation of relevant UN General Assembly Resolutions, the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees, as well as the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness.  
The SAHRC was inaugurated on 2 October 1995 as a constitutional body to promote human rights and fortify democratic rule in the Republic of South Africa.

Media contacts:
Buchizya Mseteka – Tel: +27 83 791 9831 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Understanding PAIA

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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