THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

South Africa High Court upholds the rights of refugees
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
December 14, 2006

The Zimbabwe Exiles' Forum applauds the decision of the High Court of South Africa sitting at Pretoria which upheld the rights of asylum-seekers to an efficient and speedy determination of their applications for asylum. According to a headline article in the Pretoria News of 14 December 2006, Justice Rabbie of the High Court ruled this week in favour of seven Zimbabwean asylum-seekers who took the current Home Affairs procedure to court. The High Court ruled that the process was highly inefficient and that the lengthy delays in processing asylum applications hinders refugees from accessing basic rights such as the right to study and work. It appointed a curator to oversee and report back to the court on the compliance of the Home Affairs Department with specific terms of the court's order for certain changes which should be made to improve its method of handling asylum-applications.

ZEF is a non-profit organization based in Pretoria whose mandate is centred on the promotion and protection of human rights of Zimbabwean exiles and finds its own work vindicated by the High Court's decision. It gives us great confidence in the South African judiciary's impartiality and commitment for the upholding of human rights. International insruments including the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 together with its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention as well as the South African Constitution and the Refugee Act as amended recognize the rights of asylum-applicants to basic rights such as the right to work and study .The speedy determination of asylum-applications in an efficient and non-discriminatory manner is an integral pre-requisite for enjoyment of these rights by refugees.

We urge the Department of Home Affairs to revisit their policies and procedures as well as to put in place corresponding effective measures to enable it to implement the provisions of the Refugee Act and international Conventions in compliance with the High Court decision. In addition ZEF implores the South African government in particular and SADC leaders in general to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis in an active and constructive manner as opposed to mass and often indiscriminate deportations of Zimbabweans.

For :Gabriel Shumba:
Human Rights Lawyer and Executive Director

Visit the ZEF fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.