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‘Refugees are Everybody’s Responsibility’
Source: BuaNews
Source Date: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 05, 2011

Political turbulence in various parts of the world was a great cause of concern, Chohan noted.

 

On the local front, she said the South African government had undertaken a wide-ranging overhaul of legislation governing its domestic response to securing the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. This included developing a policy to separate economic migrants from genuine asylum seekers.

 

“South Africa remains the highest destination country for asylum seekers in the world. A large proportion of those who claim refuge within our shores are fleeing the indignity of statelessness and political persecution, but many come seeking better economic prospects,” she said.

 

Chohan also gave the committee an update on South Africa’s efforts to document Zimbabwean nationals – one of the largest economic migrant populations in South Africa.

 

“This process is aimed at ensuring that these individuals are able to stay in our country without the constant threat of arrest and deportation. We have thus far dispatched permits to just over 145 000 applicants while we await the submission of passports and other outstanding documentation to enable the conclusion of this special dispensation,” she said.

 

She called for the Southern African Development Community to adopt and implement a regional approach to issues of migration while at the same time, entering into bilateral arrangements with its members.

 

Chohan reiterated government’s commitment to working with the UNHCR to find durable solutions for displaced persons.
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