refugees

Threat of Zimbabwean Deportations Criticised

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) says that a second stampede at the Marabastad Refugee Reception has left 14 people injured.

ZEF’s Gabriel Shumba, who visited the reception centre last week following rumours that some people had died in the stampede, was quoted as saying that with the high number of people at the centre, there is no way to confirm how many people were injured.

Shumba argues that the looming threat of Zimbabwean deportations is making matters worse.

More Zimbabwean Passports Still to be Processed

Zimbabwean Consul General, Godfrey Magwenzi, has told NGO stakeholders in Johannesburg that fewer than 10 000 passport applications out of 72 261 received by the consulate remain to be processed.
 
The situation is more difficult for Zimbabweans who filed a preliminary application for a residency permit without providing identification documents or who surrendered false documents.
 

NGO Criticises Conditions at Marabastad Office

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) has described the conditions at the Marabastad office as inhumane and degrading.

ZEF chairperson, Gabriel Shumba, who says he was shocked when he visited the centre last week, points out that, “One of them had his legs rested on the table while people in the hall complained that they had been waiting for three hours for the officials to assist them.”

Shumba argues that their lack of professionalism is causing people unnecessary misery.

SA to Deport Undocumented Zimbabweans

People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) says that South Africa will begin deporting undocumented Zimbabwean immigrants on 31 July 2011 for the first time in over a year.

PASSOP says that the move will leave nearly 500 000 people in danger of being sent home to a country that is still politically and economically unstable.

PASSOP head, Braam Hanekom, has been quoted by the media as saying that while the move, called the Zimbabwean Dispensation Process, is progressive, the impending changes leave himself and other human rights activists alarmed.'

Call for Tolerance Towards Refugees

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has called for tolerance towards refugees on World Refugee Day.

In a statement to mark the day, SAHRC points out that, "The commission continues to unequivocally call for tolerance, understanding and respect for human rights."

The commission says that it sees the day as a chance for the South African government and governments across the world to reaffirm international agreements of refugee protection, and for all sectors of society to reflect on their role and find solutions for the problems refugees faced.

Refugees on Rise, Poor Countries Bear Brunt – UNHCR

The United Nations (UN) says that the number of people forced to flee their homes to escape war or abuse has risen to its highest for 15 years, with four out of five refugees in developing countries.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in all, there were 43.7 million displaced people worldwide at the end of last year, up from 43.3 million a year before.

In its annual report, the organisation states that 15.4 million refugees fled across borders - 80 percent of them to nearby developing countries - and 27.5 million uprooted within their own homelands.

Plan to Establish Asylum Reception Centres

The Department of Home Affairs says plans are underway to establish asylum reception centres on the country's borders amid complaints that those close to business areas are a nuisance and irritating.

The department’s director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, states that this would also ensure that fewer foreigners entered the country.

The department was recently ordered to relocate a reception centre in Crown Mines, Johannesburg, after the business community went to court claiming the large presence of refugees rendered conditions intolerable for business.

SA Donation to Assist Libyan Refugees

South Africa has donated R2 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to assist refugees fleeing Libya.

Announcing the donation in Pretoria, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, called for a peaceful solution to the fighting in that country.

Nkoana-Mashabane also called for a stop to bombings by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces to allow an African Union delegation to visit the country in a bid to bring about a peaceful solution.

MPs Endorse Refugee Amendment Bill

The Refugee Amendment Bill, which is expected to streamline the application process for those seeking asylum, has received a majority endorsement from members of parliament (MPs).

Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, points out that it is pleasing that this Bill, which seeks to streamline the application process for genuine asylum seekers, has received the majority endorsement from MPs.

Dlamini-Zuma argues that the current legislation is being amended to so that those who are genuinely seeking asylum are not subjected to long protracted processes.

Fighting Hampers UN Efforts to Aid the Displaced

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), via local implementing partners, began aid distribution in Abidjan and has managed to reach some 10 000 internally displaced persons so far.

UNHCR spokesperson, Melissa, says that fighting between Gbagbo loyalists and supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, the UN-certified victor of November's president run-off vote, continue to complicate aid efforts.

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